Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects

The ingredients for a quiet life are all there in Berkshire: wispy Tudor-era villages, scrubby riverside walking paths and vast tracts of rolling English green dotted with sheep. After all, It’s the preferred address of none other than the Queen.

The Royal Borough also has a great collection of houses dating back through the eras – and not only for the aristocratic. Our unique style of residential architecture suits the heritage homes dotted across this part of the country as it complements the postwar developments that cluster between green parks and hobby farms. Our home expansions, renovations and new-builds deliver efficient, light-bathed layouts that respect the local vernacular and address modern lifestyles.

At Scenario we work in close collaboration with our clients to fashion homes that work for them. We also nurture relationships with planning departments across England to realise the best solutions within a realistic budget.

Born in East London in 2007, our boutique practice unites our distinctive contemporary style with our appreciation for heritage architecture. From our very first commissions we have put our clients at the centre of our designs, collaborating closely, letting their ideas come to the fore. We believe that any highly functional contemporary home must be the product of a deep connection between architect and homeowner. Scenario’s tailor-made homes reflect their lifestyle, their stories, their dreams.

This is no more evident than in Scenario House. Shortlisted for a 2018 RIBA London Award, Scenario House models our commitment to breathing new life into period property with a fresh, customised approach.

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Berkshire Architects Your Berkshire project

Starting your Berkshire project

Whether you’re planning an extension, renovation or new-build, this illustrated synopsis will help you go through the motions of hiring a residential architect. Keep in mind that most architectural undertakings in Berkshire require planning and building approval from the West Berkshire Council. We can help you navigate that process, working alongside officials in West Berkshire to see through your application.

Tip

Discover if your chosen architect has success steering planning applications through London councils. Visit the West Berkshire Council website, click on “Planning and Building Control Solutions” and search “View Planning Applications” with the name of your architect.

Berkshire Architects

Advice

This guide will make navigating the planning process easier for anyone seeking consent from the council to alter a property in London and the Southeast. Click on the link below to download.
Planning guide

Berkshire Architects Your Berkshire project >> Scenario Architecture

Working with Scenario Architecture on your Berkshire project

We specialise in domestic architecture on all scales and scopes. Our boutique studio in London offers a bespoke architecture service with a team of experienced, highly skilled architects to tackle your refurbishment, full renovation or new-build. Our RIBA Chartered Practice complies with the strict health and safety criteria of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

We use innovative 3D design technology on all our projects for the most accurate up-to-the-minute visualisations. This Chartered Institute of Building case study, featuring a Scenario project, demonstrates the benefits of advanced 3D technology for residential design.

We collaborate with all our clients from the drawings phase through construction, and we strive to deliver all our projects on time and on budget. If you are looking for an architect in Berkshire, look over our online portfolio of residential projects.

Berkshire Architects

New-build family home, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Berkshire Architects

Extensive renovation within a Camden conservation area

Berkshire Architects

Full refurbishment of a terraced house, West Hampstead

Berkshire Architects Your Berkshire project >> Further reading

There’s a reason the Queen lives in the so-called Royal Borough of Berkshire. Her rambling weekend pad – built in the 11th century for William the Conqueror no less – oversees and overlooks some of the prettiest green vistas among England’s affluent Southeast. From the Thames River valley, along its long lateral border, to the North Wessex Downs, monopolising the west, Berkshire is long on natural beauty.

It’s got architectural splendour in spades, too. Windsor Castle, itself a hodgepodge of styles introduced over centuries, has informed the surrounding areas for all of its existence. Eton College, just across the river, came along in the 15th century to educate the country’s elite and spawned an entire village of handsome residential streets. The Palladian sprawl of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, near the Hampshire border, followed three centuries later and taught Princes William and Harry. The Ascot Racecourse was founded in 1711, putting its quiet town of red-brick Gothic churches and modest stone cottages on the map.

The county is awash with independent schools where aristocrats mix with children of industry. These are interspersed with folksy towns and villages of two-storey family homes, High Street shopping, atmospheric pubs and independent restaurants. But to find a quieter life and get distance from “down from Londoners”, most head westward on the M4, which bisects the county, and settle within the North Wessex Downs. You might have to circumvent Highclere Castle, erstwhile setting for the Downton Abbey TV series, to do so, but once you’ve cleared Highclere, as it were, the county turns up big skies, family farms, village greens with ancient stone churches and fields of bouncy alpaca.

Out here, around 90 minutes from London by car and a bit less by high-speed train, the residential landscape is a mix of heritage housing and more contemporary 20th-century additions. This means you’ll likely be able to find an affordable house that doesn’t require complicated strategies to achieve planning permission when you want to alter it. Hungerford is popular, for its good-sized postwar houses and access to genteel country life. Goring, on the River Thames, offers a wider range of period properties with larger gardens, just a quick connection from Reading. Closer to London and just off the M4 is Wokingham, which has a fascinating Saxon history, old-fashioned High Streets, excellent state schools and a village, rather than a suburban, feel.

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Berkshire Architects In our clients words

scenario-architecture-testimonial-michael

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.


scenario-architecture-testimonial-guy

Great, professional service. Good drawings and models and ultimately passed planning at the first attempt with Hackney Council. Would certainly recommend!


scenario-architecture-testimonial-kauser

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.


scenario-architecture-testimonial-brendan

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-architecture-testimonial-michael-gauer

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.

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FAQ

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
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.

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
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. 

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
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 (www.envisioneco.com), 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.

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
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.

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of an internal refurbishment?
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.

Berkshire Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of building a new house?
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.