With its vast green spaces, excellent public transit links and affordable heritage housing, South London is on the up. A steady stream of creatives has migrated south of the Thames, leaving art degrees for neighbourhoods like Clapham, Camberwell and Greenwich. And a lack of major development has kept the heritage streetscapes intact. Major renovations and extensions are commonplace, opening up historic houses with glass, steel and style.
Many owners of single-family homes south of the river are preserving distinctive woodwork, masonry and window bays while installing new, striking elements that complement the original structure and improve daily life. Most major updates and expansions in South London require permission from the local council, and one of the many South London architects to ensure work is functional, respectful and up to code. Scenario Architecture has worked successfully with planning departments across London to transform historic London homes with a compassionate eye. Our reputation has made our boutique practice one of the most sought-after in London.
Scenario has devised a unique style of working that marries heritage architecture and modern details. We collaborate closely with our clients to keep their needs and objectives at the forefront of every project. Together we have designed practical, user-friendly spaces with striking contrasts – exceptionally modern homes that are easy and enjoyable to live in.
Our signature project Scenario House showcases our commitment to period properties with contemporary elements. In 2018 it was shortlisted for a prestigious RIBA London Award.
Your South London project
Most building projects in South London require approval from the local authority. South London architects can help you through the process, collaborating with council officials to see through your application. Scenario Architects has successfully steered clients through the permissions stage.
We’ve drawn up an illustrated synopsis to help guide you through the planning process for a South London renovation, restoration, addition or new-build.
Visit the building controls section of your council’s website to find out if your architect can navigate the planning process for you. Just located the search engine for planning applications and enter your architect’s name.
Scenario is an established architecture practice focusing on contemporary residential design. We take on projects of every scale and scope, from home refurbishment, renovation and expansions to new-builds.
Working with Scenario Architecture
Our boutique studio specialises in residential architecture, offering bespoke services for home additions, renovations and new-builds. Based in Hackney, we practice across London and beyond.
A RIBA Chartered Practice, Scenario complies with the UK’s strict health and safety criteria. We collaborate closely with our clients throughout every stage of the process, from the design phase, through planning and construction. We aim to deliver every project on time and on budget.
Our skilled team works with the latest 3D design technology: real-time digital visualisations and virtual reality. We feel they are the most effective and efficient tools for seeing through our work, choosing fittings and simulating natural light.
This Chartered Institute of Building case study features a recent Scenario project, demonstrating the benefits of advanced technologies in designing for the domestic sphere.
In our client's words
Great ideas and vision to help with our substantial improvement of a Victorian terrace. In our experience Scenario's method prioritises the final result. That may mean more professional fees or higher quotes from contractors, as they understand the exact requirements.
Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!
Scenario Architecture have created an outstanding design and space that was beyond my expectations. The design was through their unique process of understanding the client’s daily scenarios and collaborating with the client to come up with a unique design. The design process is one of the most memorable parts of the process and they also stretched my existing ideas to help create this unique space. A stress free journey throughout the whole process which Scenario were indispensable by giving advice on many difficult design and build decisions.
We wanted to renovate our house in a conservation area in central London. Given this involved a complete demolition and new build with an extra floor on top, getting planning approval was always going to be tricky. Scenario did an amazing job on the new house 'envelope' and throughout the planning phase. We couldn't have wished for better from them and having succeeded in gaining planning approval owe them a very big 'thank you'.
Scenario were great at thinking imaginatively and coming up with a design for a ground floor extension that was more ambitous than other architects we spoke to. They also helped us find a contractor who was able to complete the project working within timescale and our tight budget. I would recommend for mid to large sized projects with sufficient budget to allow for full utilisation of their creativity.
South London has been occupied for thousands of years. Southwark, the neighbourhood encompassing the South Bank, was the city’s first official suburb. But only now is the vast south-of-Thames area exerting the same pull as the north.
Architecture has a lot to do with South London coming into its own. As its Georgian and Victorian infrastructure began falling into disrepair and its postwar buildings lost their original heroic purpose, architects took notice. With compassionate restorations and adaptive reuse, some of South London’s most neglected architecture has enjoyed a renaissance. Professionals have moved in and opened up old, dark terraces; small businesses have occupied warehouses; shopping malls and car parks have been reimagined by artisans and grassroots businesses. In the process, South London has become a celebrated model for how historic architecture can survive in the digital age.
As our lifestyles have changed, so has our capacity for design savvy. Most homeowners know by now that a period home can be opened up and converted into a contemporary one without altering its integrity. Because of its underdog status, South London is one of the capital’s most affordable areas to take on such a project.
South London architects have capitalised on the fact that their work can have a major impact south of the Thames. Between the major construction projects at Battersea Power Station, Vauxhall, Bermondsey and North Greenwich, they have torn up floor plans and rebuilt from the inside out. They have offered clever solutions for sneaking in storage, an extra toilet or an essential workspace. And an experience eye will see where you’ll need to, say, sacrifice on living space to get the kitchen you want – or see that you won’t need to sacrifice after all.
South London architectures are slowly transforming the built landscape. The cookie-cutter homes builders envisioned 150 years ago are morphing behind heritage facades to suit evolving lifestyles and specific needs. Kitchens are growing, and serving multiple purposes as entertaining spaces and home offices; with separate dining rooms less important nowadays, they’re being folded into the new so-called Great Room. Meanwhile massive units for music and screens are shrinking. The focus of the lounge has changed entirely in just a handful of years. En suite bathrooms and walk-in wardrobes are being carved out of eaves and poky bedrooms – not to mention spaces for yoga and meditation. Stairs are hiding storage to reduce clutter coming from small children, while walls are hiding appliances nobody could have even conceived of 50 years ago.
At Scenario, we know where and how to incorporate these changes into your home before you even know you want or need them. And we’ll pinpoint the perfect materials with which to achieve it all. In the end, your house will be a true original.
Frequently Asked Questions
- As a dynamic practice operating in London’s premium residential market, managing projects remotely and conducting virtual meetings was a very familiar territory for us, long before the pandemic began and ‘working remotely’ became the norm.
- Our clients have very busy lifestyles and may move between several different locations, both within the UK and beyond, during the lifecycle of a typical project.
- To accommodate such client needs and enable us to run their projects smoothly we had all the technology and know-how associated with remote working in place for several years.
- Read our full (Virtual) Process
- Scenario based design – We start each and every project with a meticulous analysis of our client’s vision, requirements and aspirations. We do this by asking our clients to imagine their everyday scenarios living in the completed house and describe their desired interaction with it.
- Uniquely interactive - Our client’s deep involvement in the process does not stop with completion of the brief. Our design meetings are highly interactive, informal and fun.
- Designed to reflect you – Based purely on your lifestyle, aspirations and requirements and free from externally imposed concepts, metaphors and pre-conceptions, a completely fresh and unique design will gradually emerge and it will tell your story not ours.
- Collaborative – We start the conversation with planners early and advise most of our clients to seek pre-planning advice prior to submission of a full planning application. Our experience shows that when properly consulted and liaised with, most planning case officers will be receptive to conduct a professional dialogue, increasing chances of successes.
- Strategic – We tailor a custom planning strategy for each project based on its circumstances such as planning history, local context and specific challenging elements. We sometimes split applications or introduce minor tweaks to the scheme during the consideration period in conversation with the officers to prevent one contentious element from jeopardising approval of the main scheme.
- Professional – Our experience shows that the quality and clarity of the submission in terms of background research, planning history of the property and context, precedent and of course the arguments presented to support the case has a tremendous effect on success rate.
- The decision period clock only starts ticking once the application is validated by the Council, This requires then to check that the forms are completed correctly and that the submission contains all the necessary drawings, statements and reports.
- Although required by law to provide a decision within the statutory eight weeks period, it is not uncommon for councils to miss the deadline of the consideration period, normally only by a few days, sometimes longer.
- In some cases the council may ask us as your agent for an extension of time, this may be requested due to internal reasons or as an acceptable result of a professional discussion that we are conducting with them about certain aspects of the application that they are not sure about.
- Our experience shows that planning officers respond better to projects when they feel consulted and collaborated with. We find that when we truly listen to their often helpful and valid feedback and treat them as consultants for the projects and not representative of an evil enforcing authority, they tend to collaborate well with us and demonstrate increased flexibility.
- Although the council in theory have eight weeks to consider your application, in practice they are constantly overloaded. They will only look at your application in the last few days of the consideration period. If this is the first time that they come across a scheme that they were never consulted about, our chance to secure permission for you in a single attempt is significantly compromised.
- The standard practice is for the council to consider the full planning application as submitted and then issue a yes or no decision. Case officers are not required or even encouraged to enter a discussion with us or accept resubmission of minor changes to the proposed scheme during the consideration period.