Architects Kingston upon Thames

Architects Kingston upon Thames

Architects Kingston upon Thames

Architects Kingston upon Thames About us

Following the meandering curve of the Thames and the shady groove of the Hogsmill River, Kingston abounds with nature. You’re never far from green, whether Richmond Park, Wimbledon and Epsom Commons or Surbiton Golf Club. And though it once sat within Surrey, Kingston folk generally consider themselves Londoners and operate within the capital.

Our contemporary brand of residential architecture is well suited to the 19th- and 20th-century residential architecture of the borough. Our home expansions and renovations deliver efficient, light-bathed layouts that respect the local vernacular and address the way we live today. Scenario Architecture puts the client at the heart of every project. That’s why every one of our houses has a unique look and feel, no matter the provenance.

We launched Scenario in 2007 with an ambition to add modern efficiency and contemporary style to London’s period architecture. We bring our clients into the process, incorporating their needs and objectives into the overall design. A tailor-made Scenario home reflects the lifestyle of the homeowner.

Our landmark Scenario House illustrates our commitment to blending old and new. A fresh, customised take on a typical East London home, it was shortlisted for a 2018 RIBA London Award.

Architects Kingston upon Thames Your Kingston upon Thames project

Read our illustrated synopsis before retaining an architect, whether you are extending your house, renovating or building anew. Most projects in Kingston require building approval from the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames. We have a solid track record securing planning permission for our clients and can help you undertake a planning application in Kingston.


Has your architect been successful in steering planning applications through the local council? Find out by visiting the Kingston Council website and entering your architect’s name in the planning archives.

Architects Kingston upon Thames

Architects Kingston upon Thames

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.

Architects Kingston upon Thames Working with Scenario Architecture

We are a RIBA Chartered Practice. As such, our boutique studio is made up of experienced, highly skilled architects who comply with the health and safety criteria of the Royal Institute of British Architects. We specialise in domestic architecture across London and beyond.

We encourage all our clients to collaborate with us during the drawing, design and planning stages. If you are looking for an architect in Kingston upon Thames, visit our online portfolio to see how we could work together.

We are constantly upgrading our expertise with 3D design technology. We use virtual reality and real-time visualisations in all our projects for choosing the right fixtures and fittings and simulating natural light. This Chartered Institute of Building case study demonstrates the benefits of innovative 3D technology in residential architecture.

Architects Kingston upon Thames

Architects Kingston upon Thames In our client's words

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Architects Kingston upon Thames Further Reading

Until Kingston built its wooden link across the Thames in the early 13th century, there was no other bridge but London Bridge spanning the river. That’s how old and distinguished the borough is, and how important it was to the rest of the city. Another medieval bridge called the Clattern, spanning the Hogsmill River just east of the riverside walk, still exists today in its earliest form, among some of the oldest buildings in the borough. The Lovekyn Chapel, on the edge of the old village, is only slightly older – and the only private chantry chapel to have survived the Reformation.

But Kingston’s most significant development began in the 1800s. And that’s what most people recognise today: the old brown-brick shop fronts and bay-windowed pubs in the village centre, the stout Victorian centre-plan homes, the riverfront gazebos and the leafy Kingston cemetery with its Gothic chapels. After that, Kingston sprawled to the north, east and south, developing suburbs like Surbiton, Chessington and New Malden. Each of these growing areas responded to the exploding population with roomy postwar homes, many with lovely mock Tudor and Victorian details. But Kingston isn’t dominated by a suburban atmosphere. The university, with campuses as far-reaching as Richmond Park, brings in scads of students.

Life isn’t as quiet here as it may seem. On weekends, everyone takes advantage of the easy access to water and green, treading the riverside paths, but they also hit the traditional pubs dotted through the borough. You can have a raucous night out at one of your local cocktail bars, or head into London on the South Western Railway.

With more contemporary housing stock dominating the residential landscape of Kingston upon Thames, you can often find a house that won’t require a long and complicated permissions process to adapt. Moreover, there’s an overriding sense of space: wide houses, wide streets and vistas that go miles across green parks and over the Thames. So adding extra space won’t be as important as bringing in modern comforts and quality materials that make the house your own.

Architects in and around Kingston have done much lately to make the borough an attractive prospect for students looking to stay long-term. The council is open to home refurbishment and other improvements; many innovative designs pass council approval. A good architect can take an average terrace house or semi in Kingston upon Thames and bring it into the 21st century with massive curb appeal.

Which Plot Finder Website Is Best For Your Self-Build Project?

A lot of people struggle to know where to look when shopping for a plot of land. Plot finder websites tend to be a popular option – much like housing listing sites, they offer listings on available plots of land.

While there are quite a few of these sites around, they all operate differently. Some have some fees, while others are free. Some contain a huge database, while others have much fewer listings. Some solely contain plots of land to build on, while others also include buildings to convert or renovate. You should consider which plot finder site is likely to be most relevant for your individual self-build project. Below are just some of the best plot finder websites compared.

Plot Finder

Plot Finder is by far the biggest database of land listings. You’ll find roughly 14,000 plots for sale through this site.

Just don’t expect 14,000 empty green pastures. A large percentage of the plots for sale on Plot Finder are brownfield land, often already containing buildings for renovation or conversion. Fortunately, there are ways to filter these plots out if you’re not interested in a conversion property.

You can browse through Plot Finder for free, however information displayed on each listing is limited unless you’re willing to pay a £5 subscription fee. The subscription is worth paying for if you’re serious about buying land – you’ll have access to detailed search parameters and the ability to set up plot alerts. The site’s interactive map is also great for finding plots of land by location. It’s definitely one of the most comprehensive plot finder sites.

Plot Search

Plot Search is a tool offered by BuildStore – a website dedicated to self-build tools including mortgages and finance. While not quite as expansive as Plot Finder, this site still contains thousands of plot listings, the majority of which are targeted at self-builders.

A major advantage of Plot Search is its superior user-friendliness. Although it hasn’t got quite as many parameters to choose from as Plot Finder, it’s easier to get to grips with.

Plot Search is also completely free. You’ll have to register before you can start your search, which does require filling in quite a lot of information, but once this is done you have access to all the features including an interactive map and plot alerts.

Plot Browser

Plot Browser is another site offering thousands of plot listings. This includes a mix of self build plots, land redevelopment, conversion, renovation and modernisation.

It feels very similar to Plot Finder in terms of scale and detail. The biggest difference is that it’s entirely free – you can use all of its features without paying anything.

Plot Browser isn’t quite as user-friendly as some of its contemporaries. However, it’s still got a lot of great features that make it worth signing up to and exploring.

UK Land Directory

UK Land Directory contains about 800 listings. While this is significantly less than many other plot finder websites, all of the listings are strictly plots to build on – not buildings to renovate or land for other purposes.

The website is pretty straightforward to use. You can sort listings by price to find properties within your budget and you don’t have to fill in loads of personal details before starting your search. It’s very convenient for when you want to do a quick search.

The site is also free to use. While it may not be as detailed as other plot finder sites, it’s worth checking out to maximise your chance of finding the right plot.

Custom Build Homes

Custom Build Homes focuses solely on custom build plots. It doesn’t have as many listings as other plot finder sites, but you can be sure that all plots will be relevant to your needs if you’re planning a self build.

The website is very easy to use and contains lots of helpful information on building a home, which is worth a read. This includes posts on inspiration for those considering a self-build.

All of this information is free. By signing up with Custom Build Homes you can stay updated on new plots and access the site’s full features.

The Land Bank Partnership

The Land Bank Partnership is focused on listing plots of land in the South West of England. If you’re looking for land in the South West, this could be the perfect site to use to help you in your search. If you’re looking for land elsewhere in the UK, then this site obviously won’t be very helpful (unfortunately there aren’t quite as many big regional plot finder sites like this one).

You’ll find around 75 plots of land through this site. The site is user-friendly and offers a lot of detail on each listing so that you truly determine whether it’s right for you.

While you do have to register to use the site, it is free to use. If you decide that you’d like to acquire a plot of land listed on the site, The Land Bank Partnership can help you with the land purchase process by acting as an agent and negotiator. They will however charge you a fee for this service equal to 2% of the plot price, so bear this in mind.

How to choose the best plot of land

It’s important that any plot of land meets your specs. Take your time to research into the plot so that you know exactly what comes with it and make sure that you know exactly which planning permission rights are available on the land. This will prevent you from wasting money on a plot of land that is not suitable for your needs.

It could be worth working with an architect to help you find a suitable plot of land. At Kingston Architects, we can help you to find a plot that is the perfect fit for your project. We’ll ensure that no details are overlooked that might otherwise be missed. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

Architects Kingston upon Thames Frequently Asked Questions

    There is no doubt that choosing an architect is a big decision and there’s a huge amount of information to consider. As you may have already experienced, different firms and architectural practices across London tend to differ in terms of the language they use, which aspects they emphasise and in their fees and scope structures. We have compiled an essential guide to choosing an architect, which includes the three most important considerations to have on your list whilst you come to a decision. This guide is based on our fifteen years of experience as a top architectural practice in London and includes our expert recommendations to ensure you make the right choice and select the architect that is best suited to you and your project. Click here to read the full guide.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQHow should I decide which architect to work with?
    The scenario design process was developed, tested and perfected through over a decade of extensive delivery of residential projects within and around London, some of its key features are listed below:   
    • 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. 
    We then translate the resulting high definition brief into an informative and revealing 3-dimensional simulation, illuminating aspirations, requirements and patterns of habitation. 
    • 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. 
    Sitting together in front of a real time 3D model of the proposed design with realistic materials, lighting and textures we push and pull the proposed scheme together to explore its full potential and drag and drop different materials to explore various options. hen we invite our clients to take a virtual reality tour through advanced equipment that is always available in our practice for our clients to explore their projects at different stages of development. 
    • 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. 
    It will not look like an image cut out of a trendy architecture magazine and not designed to intentionally impress anyone. It will feel familiar, warm and inviting and you will recognise yourself in it because it will be a genuine expression of the unique way in which you and your family wish to interact with it and enjoy it for many years to come.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
    Any architectural project comprises three main aspects, Creative design, Technical design and Project Management. A successful architectural project can only be achieved when all three aspects are properly performed and harmoniously integrated by an experienced professional. But can we really except a single person to specialise and shine in all three aspects and furthermore skilfully negotiate and balance the often contradictory challenges these aspects present? The basic assumption underlying the common structure of almost all other architectural practices today is that it is possible and this is precisely what is expected from the lone and often junior Architect that would typically be assigned to run your project start to finish. Scenario works in a completely different and new way, we believe in specialism and teamwork and therefore assign three experienced specialists for each and every project. A project team in Scenario is composed of a Project Director, a Designer and a Technical Designer, seamlessly collaborating to deliver results, which are noticeably superior to anything that a single person, skilful as they may be, could ever produce.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWho will be assigned to work on my project?
    A key aspect, absolutely necessary to ensure successful delivery of your project is appointing a suitable and competent professional team. If we work together on your project we would be appointed as your Architects and Lead Consultants and help you to assemble the rest of the professional team. Most projects in and around London will require at least four additional consultants, a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor for cost control, an Approved Inspector to ensure and certify compliance with building regulations and a Party Wall Surveyor if any work is to be done to a party wall or structure. For some projects, depending on scale, complexity and your specific aspirations it may be recommended/required to use the services of additional consultants. Including but not limited to: Planning, Heritage, Right of Light, Landscape Designer, Audio Visual and Building Services Engineer. When appropriate, we will discuss these options with you and obtain relevant quotes for all additional consultants for you to consider.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhich additional consultants are required for my project?
    Planning in the U.K in general and in Greater London in particular is admittedly a tricky business. It is a complex maze of policies, standards and regulations that requires specialised and up to date knowledge and skills to navigate successfully.  Over the years we developed a strong approach and an effective methodology, allowing us to maintain an outstanding track record stretching over more than a decade. Successfully securing planning permission for our clients across Greater London and the Home Counties.  The key aspects of our approach to planning are listed below: 
    • 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. 

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
    The standard consideration period for a residential project is eight weeks, this is the official time frame for your local council to carry out consultation with the neighbours and reach a decision.  We recommend allowing for a minimum of ten weeks from submission to decision as in practice the process always takes slightly longer for the following reasons: 
    • 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.
    Validation can take anything from a few days to couple of weeks when the council is very busy, which is most of the time…
    • 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. 
    While there are some effective measures to apply pressure, which we do not hesitate to use when appropriate, it is generally beneficial for the project to bear with the council a little 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.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQHow long will it take to obtain planning permission for my project?
    Once we have an initial scheme designed for your project which you are happy to proceed with, we will advise whether we recommend obtaining pre-planning advice or proceeding directly to the submission of a full planning application. Most of our projects are submitted first to pre-planning when the following applies.
    • 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.
    In practice our established working relationships and long-standing experience working across Greater London and the Home Counties often enables us to have a meaningful discussion and even introduce minor tweaks to the submitted scheme within the consideration period and prevent the application from being rejected. The chances for this strategy to deliver the desired results increases significantly with projects which were submitted first for a pre-planning advice.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is pre-planning and will it be required for my project?
    In the past, it was common practice for local authorities to impose sustainability standards on residential developments. However, the 2015 Deregulation Act removed the obligation on local authorities to require any standard at all, which means the only requirements having fallen back to those of the Building Regulations.  With no clear and improved targets to work towards, in collaboration with Envision (, we have created optional Sustainability ‘Levels’ to offer our clients the chance to drastically improve the sustainability credentials of their home. These ‘Levels’ encompassing Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond, traverse a clear and applicable route from basic compliance with current Building Regulations all the way to the full and rigorous HQM (Home Quality Mark) certification within Level Diamond. As the packages become more elaborate in terms of sustainability, analysis and implemented measures, they provide increasing tangible benefits. Ranging from thermal and acoustic comfort and wellbeing, to reduced carbon foot print, savings on running costs and significant advantages through the planning process.  The more elaborate packages obviously entail higher cost in terms of professional fees as well as impact on the construction cost, although each sustainability ‘Level’ will endeavour to not overly burden the construction budget.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
    In a nutshell building control is the means by which Local Authorities enforce compliance with current Building Regulations.  In practice there are two main ways to go about obtaining the required advice and certification for your project, via your Local Council’s Building Control Department or via direct appointment of an Approved Inspector who is authorised to carry out the inspection and certification on behalf of any local authority.   The role of either the Council’s Building Control Officer or an Approved Inspector is to verify that your project meets all current Building Regulations. They will review and approve all the drawings, inspect the actual work carried out on site and once the project is completed, issue the final compliance certificate. Due to an open market, healthy competition between local councils and approved inspectors, the process and associated costs are almost identical. Having said that, our experience is that the private inspectors still feel and behave more as your appointed consultants and the council’s service still feels more like a statutory inspection and it is often slower and less responsive.  While it is always good to be informed and understand the process well, as your appointed architects we will take care of this aspect of the project for you and save you considering comparable quotes that we will obtain on your behalf and appointing the selected provider. You can leave this aspect of your project entirely with us.  Building control is required for almost all projects, and for all the projects we ever worked on as only minor renovation works may be exempt.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is building control and is it required for my project?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for side extensions, rear extensions or front extensions. For basement extensions, which are most expensive way to add space to your home, we recommend that you allow between £3,000 and £3,500 per square metre. When it comes to roof extensions, our experience shows that it is better to allow a lump sum of £40,000-£60,000 for loft conversions with dormer windows and between £80,000 and £120,000 for mansard roof extensions. These ranges are based on averages from numerous actual projects that we have completed in and around London since we established Scenario in 2007. We only use these rough costs per square metre during the early stages of design to maintain awareness of your target budget until a cost professional is appointed and more accurate methods of estimation are employed. The actual cost for your project will depend on many factors, including the complexity of the design, level of structural support required, and selection of fixtures, fittings material finishes. Using these rough ranges as a guide we will work together with you in an interactive process to optimise budget and scope and find the balance that works best for you. The estimated costs per square metre mentioned above are for the build costs only and exclude VAT and professional fees.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
    Currently we recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,000 per square metre for areas which will undergo an extensive renovation. We designate an area of the project as extensive renovation if the planned works includes substantial changes to layouts, significant structural works, re-plumbing, re-wiring and full redecoration. For areas of lighter internal renovation which do not require significant changes to layout or substantial structural works but do require full redecoration, re-plumbing and rewiring, we recommend allowing between £2,000 and £2,500 as an estimated cost per square metre, we designate these areas as requiring medium renovation. If there areas in your project which only call for a light renovation such as re-plastering, and painting, installing new floor finishes and light modifications of electrics and plumbing fittings, we will designate these as areas of light renovation and recommend that you allow £1,500-£2,000 per square metre or even as low as between £1,000-£1,500 if you only have light touches in mind. The real cost for your project will depend on several different variables including the complexity of the design, extent of structural works and level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. These estimated costs per square metre are for the build cost excluding VAT and professional fees.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
    If you are thinking about building a new house from scratch for which the term Self Build is often used, we currently recommend allowing between £2,500 and £3,500 per square metre for projects in and around London. This may sound like a very wide range initially, perhaps too wide to be useful? As soon as we can establish even a few of the basics of your requirements and aspirations for the project we can safely narrow it down and customise it to match your intentions. The key parameters that will help us to refine initial estimates are whether or not a basement is required to achieve your target floor area, the likely construction method and corresponding structural approach and of course your desired level of fixtures, fittings and material finishes. Another key parameter that we must consider right from the outset is the level of sustainability that we are aiming at, are you satisfied with the base line requirements as defined by current building regulations, or should we aim higher? Working together with sustainability experts we have created our own bespoke set of sustainability packages which allows you to place your sustainability target anywhere you wish. This can range from basic compliance to an extremely sustainable and energy efficient standard which comes with great savings on running costs, future proofing and wellbeing benefits such as improved air quality, thermal comfort, and considerate and healthier surface finishes.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
    The fee structure that we will offer will depend on the type and scale of your project as well as the scope required from us. The vast majority of the projects we take on are what we call ‘full projects’, these are projects for which we will provide full Architectural services from inception to completion, covering the standard scope of services offered by most RIBA Chartered Architects and more. For these full projects our fees will be calculated on the basis of an agreed percentage of the final cost of the building works exclusive of VAT and professional fees. At any given time, we will calculate our fees based on the latest construction cost estimates available until the final cost of the building works has been ascertained. Our fees will be adjusted both forward and retrospectively to reflect any increase in budget and scope of the project, and forward only (due to work already completed) to reflect any decrease in budget/scope. During early stages, our fees will be calculated based on our in-house estimation tool and once available, on estimates by the appointed Quantity Surveyor, followed by actual prices of returned tenders and finally, the contract sum reflecting any changes during construction. Under unusual circumstances we may agree to take on projects only up to a certain stage, for example up to planning, and sometimes from a certain stage if we are taking over from another Architect. For these ‘partial scope projects’ we will normally put forward a simple fixed lump sum proposal.

    Architects Kingston upon Thames

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?