The virtues of Wandsworth are something of a best-kept secret in London. Its neighbours Battersea and Wimbledon get more attention, and when you do hear about the small South London enclave, it owes more to the infamous prison, or that a scene from Clockwork Orange was shot in a gritty underpass near the Thames. Yet Wandsworth’s slender streets, edged by wrought iron gates and flowering trees, are some of the loveliest in London. Surrounded by outstanding schools, rustic public parks and the trickling River Wandle, it’s like a private island of contented living.
The Victorian houses of Wandsworth are some of the most unique in the city, with unusual gables, pediments, finials, fanlights and covered porches. Sat in a quiet enclave near the River Thames, interspersed with independent shops and pubs, these elegant terraced homes come available less frequently than nearby Fulham or Clapham. And when it comes to building work, they require the wisdom of an architect to carry out works to code.
We launched Scenario in 2007 with a specific architectural vision for modernising heritage property – and building anew. Our work places emphasis on the homeowner. We collaborate with our clients from start to finish, taking into account their way of life to produce functional, tailor-made architecture.
Our landmark project Scenario House was shortlisted for several prestigious architecture awards – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. It demonstrates our successful approach to domestic architecture projects. Other Scenario projects have featured in Elle Decoration, Dezeen, Houzz and Ideal Home.
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Your Wandsworth project
If you are considering building work in Wandsworth, you will require approval from the local authority. An architect, Wandsworth-based, can help you through the process, collaborate with council officials and see through your application. Scenario Architects has a spotless record steering clients through the planning phase.
Our illustrated synopsis will answer any questions you might have about the planning process, covering renovations, restorations, additions and new-build homes.
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 small London studio specialises in residential architecture. We create bespoke home additions, renovations and new-build properties. Based in Hackney, East London, we practice throughout London and the Southeast.
Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice, complying with the organisation’s strict health and safety standards. 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.
Victorian houses account for one sixth of all British homes. With their limited kitchens and cosy rooms, expanding them has become de rigueur. Victorian extensions are common practice around the country and especially in central London, where homeowners seek extra space in tightly regulated areas by moving into the loft and side return.
Most contemporary architects have worked out space-saving and space-enhancing solutions that can be replicated from house to house. The loft extension, side-return extension and basement excavation have become commonplace moves across the capital and the Home Counties. These strategies are popular because they work to expand a house when a family needs it and bring in valuable natural light. At Scenario, we use up-to-the-minute technology to recoup space and expand in all directions. We maximise hidden corners under stairs and in the eaves. And we find ways to improve the flow of a home that incorporate unusual angles and silhouettes.
An extension of only a few metres can open up a space dramatically in many cases – particularly if there is a creative design behind it, integrating the adjoining rooms. Expanding into a side-return or rear garden can make an eat-in kitchen from a galley, or contribute to a so-called great room in the place of a smaller, darker layout. The removal of a structural wall can allow for a kitchen island where counter space was lacking, and often enough space to incorporate an office nook. In the Victorian terraced houses found around Wandsworth and elsewhere in South London, a side-return extension has great potential for a major lifestyle change.
Ditto a loft conversion. The loft is already there. Opening it up with dormer windows or by lowering the floor slightly avoids increasing the roof volume beyond the regulated amount. And yet it will transform an unused void into up to two bedrooms and a full bathroom. Suddenly a couple or their children can co-opt an entire floor for themselves, or relegate the space for guests.
Scenario Architecture tailors all our residential projects to the lives of the homeowners we work with. Just as no two families are the same, no two kitchens, bathrooms or wardrobes should be. We consult with our clients every step of the way to make sure the way they live, work, sleep, cook, dress and play is reflected in their environment. For this reason, every one of our designs has a different look and flow. So on the outside, you may recognise the house as Victorian, but inside, you won’t recognise it as a Scenario House.
Applying for an extension in a London conservation area should be fairly straightforward, as long as your project complies with the neighbourhood elevation and footprint. An architect, Wandsworth based, can undertake a Building Regulations application for you, ensuring your design complies with the local fire-safety, ventilation, plumbing and structural standards. We at Scenario have fostered relationships with most building and planning commissions across London and we often tackle these responsibilities for our clients.
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.