A studio of top London architects, Scenario has been designing high-end, hard-working contemporary homes across the capital for more than a decade. Their residential projects have featured in Elle Decoration, Dezeen and Houzz and have been shortlisted for several prestigious architecture prizes – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards.
We established our boutique firm in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative process by top London architects, where the clients’ objectives for high-functioning architecture are the main drivers. A liveable, aspirational home is the product of a deep understanding of each homeowner’s unique lifestyle: that shows in our work.
Your London project
If you’re considering a high-end or luxury residential architect for your London project, we’re here to help, whether you’re tackling a renovation, extension or new-build.
Most architecture projects in the capital require planning permission from the local council. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across London.
We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the process.
To help you understand what it takes to obtain planning permission across London, we’ve created this helpful handbook. Download it below.
Discover if your architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” page of your council’s website and enter the architect’s name in the search criteria.
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
Scenario are top London architects focused on high-end residential projects in and around the capital. Through our bespoke architecture service, we tackle projects of every scale and complexity, from interior alterations and refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds.
Our highly skilled team can walk you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your new space. We collaborate closely with our clients from the initial drawings, detail design and planning through tender and construction to the project’s successful completion. On time and on budget.
We use innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard on all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light.
Our expertise with 3D building information modelling (BIM) produces reliable construction information, so all our project data comes from an accurate, coordinated 3D model. Using this cutting-edge technology collaboratively with consultants and contractors saves our clients time and money. This Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.
Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, covering insurance, health and safety and quality-management.
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.
Some would argue London architects are the most prestigious and best trained in the world. This is because of the city’s reputation for defining architectural styles throughout history and, more recently, for its creative rebuilding and repurposing after the Second World War. Our architecture schools attract top instructors and students from around the world, replenishing the talent pool for future generations. London’s architects set themselves apart by committing to innovative contemporary mediums and learning cutting-edge techniques. Top London architects keep up with developments in technology and building through their association with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), creating contented work atmospheres in the office and on site.
The delicate nature of many old properties in the capital, along with the city’s complicated planning and building regulations, means starting an architectural project can be daunting. To find a top London architect, search the RIBA website and its cache of resources first. The industry’s professional body and watchdog, RIBA provides the tools homeowners require for discovering a trustworthy practice. It keeps a database of more than 40,000 case studies that match homeowners with the specialists they need within every budget.
A great architect should be a problem-solver first and foremost: fitting the rhythm of your life into a physical shape and making sure every element of your home can be achieved structurally legally and financially. The professional you choose should create a bespoke space deeply attuned to your needs – not just today but in the future. He or she will be able to design special touches that make your life more efficient and pleasurable. Less a costly investment or superfluous expense, a great architect is a value-adder, paying for him or herself over and over. Many homeowners, in an effort to cut costs, end up spending much more to fix the mistakes they make themselves or entrust to a layman.
Once you’ve found an architect you can see yourself working alongside, the transformation of your home will start to move more smoothly. You’ll have the support of an experienced practitioner, beginning from the party walls and working inward, designing hard-working spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms and pushing all those detailed specifications through the planning process. You’ll have a liaison to deal with builders, trades and decorators on site.
By the end of the building process, you’ll have a home you’ll want to live in forever. At the very least, it’ll increase in value for you and any potential buyer.
How to Find Building Plots in London
It’s no secret that land can be hard to come by in large cities like London. Having been built up for hundreds of years, it’s no wonder that space comes at a premium when you’re trying to get it in a large city like this. Of course, though, when you want to build your own house, commercial property, or other building, you need the land to be able to get started.
To help you out with this, this article will be exploring a range of helpful tips that will make it much easier for you to get your hands on the land you need in London. Finding building plots doesn’t have to be impossible, but you will have to work hard throughout the process to get the results you want.
Tip 1: Using Estate Agents
Estate agents are one of the best tools available for people who are looking for building plots. Many people associate this sort of business with fully-built properties, but most estate agents will also deal with land on a daily basis. This means that they can offer advice and support when you are going through the process of finding land for yourself.
Most estate agents will be happy for you to register with them when you are looking for land. When you do this, they will be ready and waiting to let you know about any land that comes up that meets your specifications. This is great for those who don’t have much time to put into researching their options for themselves.
Of course, alongside helping you to find land, estate agents can also offer a lot of advice when you’re going through a process like this. They will be able to help you to make the right decisions, while also giving you the chance to ask questions and get help when you need it.
Tip 2: Attending Auctions
Property auctions can be scary, and many people work hard to avoid this sort of thing when they are trying to get their hands on land. While daunting, though, an auction can often be the best place to look for this sort of property, as land tends to come up in sales like this more often than hitting the regular market.
It’s worth keeping in mind that you will likely come up against developers when you take this route. Developers won’t look at the land value as-is, and will often be able to bid higher than regular buyers as they will be making a profit down the line. This can be difficult to overcome when you first get started, but perseverance will always pay off when you’re looking to get your hands on property.
Tip 3: Signing Up With Your Council
Much like signing up with an estate agent, you can also sign up with your local council to be notified when land becomes available. Finding Community Land Trust/self-build schemes in your area can be a huge benefit when you’re trying to get your hands on land, and there are plenty of options like this across the city of London.
It can be hard to know who you need to talk to when you approach your council for support like this. Thankfully, most council offices are filled with people who will be willing to help you out, and this means that you need only approach them to get the help you need.
Tip 4: Do Proactive Research
Being proactive is one of the keys to success when you’re trying to get your hands on land in a city like London. While it can often feel like you’ve left every stone unturned, there will always be options hitting the market, and there will always be ideas that you haven’t tried before. This makes it well worth taking the time to work on your research as much as possible.
Looking for new land is a big part of this, but also looking for new places to find land and the schemes that will enable you to secure it can also be very important. There are a lot of plots of land available in London, but you may not be able to find them without doing some legwork. Getting in the car or on your bike to explore the city and find plots that look like they are for sale is a great alternative to spending your time researching online.
Tip 5: Work With The Right Companies
Finally, as the last tip to consider, it’s time to think about the companies you work with while you’re looking for land. Knowing whether or not the land you have found is suitable for your project can be just as hard as finding the land itself, and this is something that people often ignore until they get to it.
We can help you to decide on which land you need for the project you want to take on. Having worked on countless projects like this in the past, our team of expert architects can provide you with support and advice that will enable you to make the best of your land.
Having connections like this can be very important when you’re looking to buy something like land. Knowing the right people can go a long way towards completing your project, and this only becomes more important as your project gets larger and larger.
As you can see, finding land in a city like London doesn’t have to be a nightmare. While it can be a little bit challenging, this process isn’t as hard as it seems, and most people are able to find land that will be suitable for their project without having to spend a fortune in the process.
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.