Architecture Firms in London

Architecture Firms in London

Architecture Firms in London

Architecture Firms in London About us

With heritage homes more desirable than ever in London and beyond, homeowners are renovating and expanding as a matter of course. Lifestyles have changed to put more emphasis on open kitchens, en suite bathrooms and natural light. It takes a professional architect to distil the ambitions of a modern household into a beautiful and efficient package that will also pass muster with planning regulations. Scenario counts itself among the top residential architecture firms in London. We have more than a decade of experience restoring and enhancing heritage homes across the city with our unique, contemporary approach. A Scenario home may look like its neighbours from the pavement, but behind the façade it wows with unusual sightlines, fluid lines and a remarkable distinction between old and new. Clients who choose us aspire to a new archetype for London living: open and comfortable, luxurious yet accessible.

A highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle. Among all the architecture firms in London, Scenario’s founding partners share a unique vision: to practice a truly compassionate and collaborative art. Since 2007, we’ve taken a considered approach to our clients’ needs and ambitions, pushing them to the next level. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell a story about each owner – not about the architects.

Our landmark residential project Scenario House established us as one of the top architecture firms in London today. Located in Stoke Newington, east London, it showcases the best of what a Victorian house can become and sets a high bar for modern refurbishments. In 2018, the house was shortlisted for the RIBA London Awards and other architecture prizes. Still as fresh and efficient today as when we put it to paper, it merges contemporary steel and glass with reclaimed wood, antique brick and eco-friendly elements.

Architecture Firms in London Your project

If you’re considering using any architecture firms in London, we’re here to help, whether you’re planning a home renovation, extension or new-build. Most new London architecture projects require planning permission from the local council. We’ve built a successful record securing planning permission for our clients and claim home advantage across the city.

Click here to read our illustrated overview, outlining each stage of the process.


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.

Architecture Firms in London

Architecture Firms in London

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.

Architecture Firms in London Working with Scenario Architecture

A boutique architecture studio, Scenario focuses on high-end residential projects in and around London with our bespoke architecture service. We tackle projects of every scale and scope, from interior remodelling to full renovations and new-build homes.

Our highly skilled team will take you through every stage of your project. We’ll consult with you from the initial drawings through the design details, steer you through local planning and tender. We’ll be stand by you throughout the construction and see you through the successful completion of your home. We always finish our projects on time and on budget.

Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, meaning our clients are protected against health and safety measures with quality-management systems.

We are early adopters of cutting-edge architectural technology, using innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard on all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations are the most efficient tools for choosing fixtures and fittings, and for simulating natural light.

We produce our reliable construction information with 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology. All our project data derives from accurate, coordinated 3D models, and saves our clients time, money and worry.

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has published this case study featuring a Scenario Architecture project. It demonstrates the benefits of advanced technology for domestic architecture.

Architecture Firms in London

Architecture Firms in London In our client's words

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Architecture Firms in London Further Reading

There was once a conventional wisdom for homeowners. When buying a house, you conform to its original architecture. You may add plumbing and electrics, but you suffer for the structure. You leave walls intact, add armoires rather than build new storage. And God forbid you paint over exposed brick.

Our lifestyles have changed, along with our design savvy. Most homeowners now know how a period house can be opened up and converted into a contemporary one without altering the integrity of the structure and façade. But few of us have the tools to customise a design and carry out the work.

With separate kitchens, formal parlours and out-of-the-way bathrooms in the past – and a dozen decorating titles on the market for every style and budget – tearing up floor plans and starting anew is de rigueur. An architect will take things from there. Just like no two families are the same, the same goes for a house. An architect makes the ideal liaison between those two entities – as well as with contractors, builders, tradespeople and wholesalers. An architect will create a running dialogue between everyone and everything.

It takes a trained practitioner to offer 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.

Architecture firms in London and beyond 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.

An architect will know where and how to incorporate these changes into your home before you even know you want or need them. And they’ll pinpoint the perfect materials with which to achieve it all. In the end your house will be a true original.

Architecture Firms in London Finding a property you love in London

Finding a property you love in London is a challenge. But completing the deal and exchanging the keys don’t mean the process is over. Most London homes have decades, if not centuries, of baggage, and owning one comes with a fair set of constraints, whether you’re planning to renovate, extend, convert or build anew. Urban settings are rife with physical limitations – on top of which you could find yourself in a conservation area. Listed buildings require mountains of paperwork to alter, if you can alter them at all. Buy in a green belt, and you’ll have to respect landscapes, slight lines and your natural surrounds.

As an architecture company in London, we can help unlock the potential of your chosen home and its site. Despite the restrictions inherent in London architecture, we can transform your new home with outside-the-box design and strategic planning. Our proven record with period homes across London and beyond ensures a smooth and satisfying process for everyone involved.

Connections with neighbourhood planners and fluency with local protocols have steered our creative design, forcing us to reimagine every space respectfully and sympathetically to the environment. Our homes make use of every conceivable nook and cranny, push boundaries to the limits and evolve with our clients’ changing lifestyles. We find space for our clients in lofts, basements, side returns and conservatories in order to breathe new life into old bones.

Scenario’s dynamic team works closely with our clients and with one another to find inspired solutions to the challenges facing us today. We incorporate smart-home solutions, home-office capabilities, space for exercise and winding down into our floor plans. And every element is considered for its sustainability.

Above all, we offer a range of finishes and fittings that can make a period home seem as fresh as a new-build. We want our clients to wake up every morning wishing to be nowhere else but home.

Architecture Firms in London 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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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. 

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    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.

    Architecture Firms in London

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?

Architecture Firms in London The Government’s New Plans for Planning Permission in England

Planning permission can be one of the major frustrations when it comes to putting together plans and constructing any sort of extension, building, or add-on. A lot of people spend months waiting to find out whether or not their planning permission has been approved. There can be nothing more disappointing than finding out that permission that has not been granted. You then have to make the necessary adjustments and reapply. It can be a long, drawn-out process. This is why a lot of people in the industry and homeowners alike have been delighted to learn that are changes being made when it comes to planning permission in the UK.

What is planning permission?

Before we look at the proposed changes when it comes to planning permission, we first need to establish what this is. In simple terms, planning permission is simply the process of asking whether or not you will be able to carry out certain types of building work. Planning permission will either be refused or granted based on a number of factors. In some cases, planning permission may be granted but it will be subject to some conditions. The main responsibility when it comes to planning permission has been granted to the planning authorities within the local area. In the majority of cases, this will be your local council’s planning department.

When do you need planning permission?

There are a number of different reasons why you may require planning permission and requirements can change from area to area, so it is important to keep this in mind when it comes to figuring out whether or not you need planning permission for your home.

Generally speaking, you will probably need planning permission if you want to build something new, alter the building’s use, or make a considerable change to the building in question, for example, add on an extension.

To find out whether or not planning permission is going to be required for your specific project, the best thing to do is get in touch with the planning authority at your local council to find out what the requirements are within the local area.

If you choose an architectural firm with care and consideration, planning permission is something that they will account for in their plans. They will help you to bring forward a plan that has a great chance of being approved for planning permission.

It is also good to understand when you will not require planning permission, as this can help you to understand how best to proceed with your project. If projects have permitted development rights, planning permission is not typically needed. Building projects that are going to usually have these sorts of rights include demolition, yet you do need to get this approved via your council, some outdoor advertisements and signs, and industrial warehouses and premises.

There are some other types of projects that may not require planning permission, for instance, any sort of project that is not going to have any impact whatsoever on your neighbours.

Making an appeal against the decision you received

If your planning application has not been accepted, there will typically be reasons why. Most people will make adjustments based on these reasons and then submit a new plan.

However, if you feel that the decision is unfair, you may want to consider appealing against it. You can only appeal if your application has been refused or if the application has been granted but you object to the conditions.

You are also able to appeal if the decision was not made within the time frame of eight weeks or 13 weeks for major developments.

Proposed changes with regard to planning permission

Planning for the Future is a white-paper that has been released by The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG). This paper has the purpose of attempting to revolutionise England’s planning system and cut the red tape that is in place. There are a number of key elements that will have a big impact when it comes to the planning permission landscape. Below, we will explore this in further detail so that you can get a better understanding of the new plans for planning permission under the current government.

One of the main headlines associated with the new planning permission rules is that there are going to be three types of land designated for protection, renewal, and growth. This will come with an outline planning that is granted automatically based on the land that has been allocated for growth. With this, design guides will be implemented, which will be crafted by councils as part of the new council plans. What this means is that some applications will have the potential to be fast tracked. This will be music to the ears of a lot of people, especially those who have experienced delays waiting for planning permission to come through.

What else has the proposal identified as potential areas for improvement and change?

Another promising development is that the white paper has specifically called for councils to identify areas of growth for both custom and self build properties, as well as confirming the exemption that self-builds have with regard to the Community Infrastructure Levy. It is good to see acknowledgement that the planning system has held the industry back for too long and that changes need to be made so that we can move the housing market in the country forward.

To conclude, it is important to make sure that you are aware of the latest planning permission requirements before you embark on any build at your property. By working with one of the reputable architecture firms in London, they will be able to make sure that your plans adhere to the latest rules and regulations so that you do not have anything to worry about from a compliance standpoint. This highlights why it is imperative to choose a firm with a lot of care and consideration. You need a company that is going to consider planning permission carefully when putting together the right plans for you.