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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.