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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Design a Home That Boosts Wellbeing
Your home should be a space that has a positive effect on your health and wellbeing. It’s the place where you spend a lot of your time, where you relax at the end of the day, where you have family time, and where you eat and sleep. It should make you feel happy and contribute to your overall wellness, both in terms of your physical health and how you feel mentally and emotionally. Many elements in your home can play a part in this and if you’re designing a new home, you can consider the different things that may help it to boost your wellbeing.
Hire an Architect
Firstly, you should be sure to hire an architect if you want to design a home that will improve your wellbeing. While a builder can create some plans for you to choose from, the result could be that your home is not unique to you and the way you live. An architect works with you to design a home that perfectly matches your needs. When you hire Scenario Architecture, we can suggest ideas for your home to boost wellbeing in your home, suggesting creative designs that work for you.
Bring in Natural Light
Getting plenty of natural light into your home is a fantastic way to boost wellbeing. People are drawn to natural light, and it makes us happier and healthier when we can bask in it. If your home is dark, it can make it feel small and claustrophobic. Natural light connects you to the outdoors and helps you to experience the ebb and flow of the sun. Installing lots of windows and glass doors helps to bring in more natural light, as does having skylights or glass roofs and orienting your home so that it faces in the best direction. At the same time, it’s important to prevent overheating if you’re going to have a lot of glass.
Make It Feel Secure
Feeling safe at home is vital. Your home is your sanctuary, so it’s important to think about how it can be a secure place for you to be. Of course, there are elements such as the security of your doors and windows to think about, but you can also consider how to create a feeling of safety and security in another way. While you might have open spaces that help light to flow through your home, it’s also necessary to have cosy, more enclosed spaces where you can feel safe. You need to have zones where you can retreat more into your home, gather as a family and enjoy privacy and comfort.
Create a Healthy Atmosphere
The design of your home affects the air quality, the humidity, and the temperature. In the UK, we want our homes to be airtight so that they are well-insulated, particularly in the winter. However, this means that we need a way to deal with moisture and prevent high humidity levels. This problem can be solved using mechanical ventilation and heat recovery units, which ensure air is circulated to remove excess moisture and keep things fresh. Managing the internal temperature of your home is also important, and this can be done in a variety of ways. Installing modern and energy-efficient heating products keeps your home warm, as does making choices such as installing triple-glazed windows to help regulate your home’s temperature.
Use Natural Materials
The use of natural materials is a great way to design a home that boosts wellbeing. Natural materials are better for the air quality in your home. Whereas some artificial materials might give off toxins that affect the health of your home, natural materials such as timber and stone help to make your home healthy. They can also simply help to give your home the right feel. They make your home feel more connected to nature, bringing the outdoors inside and even giving your home a brighter and more lively feel.
Join Inside and Outside
Being more connected to nature and the outdoors can help to improve our wellbeing. No one wants to feel like they are trapped in their home or that they are cut off from the outside world. Joining indoor and outdoor spaces means that you get to enjoy the outdoor space that you have even when you’re indoors, and you connect yourself to the wider surroundings too. This is especially important if you have attractive views surrounding your home and want to make the most of them. Glazed doors that can be opened up but still show you the outdoors even when they’re closed are an excellent way to achieve a blending of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Use Colour Carefully
Your choice of colour is significant when it comes to designing the interiors of your home. From the moment you’re selecting materials to when you’re decorating internally, you can think about how colour affects how you feel about your home. There aren’t necessarily any clear rules about which colours you should choose. Some people may find bright colours invigorating while others could find them too loud. Your use of colour can make a difference to your wellbeing because different colours can be suitable for different rooms and the kind of atmosphere and ambience you want to create.
While open spaces are a good addition to your home, it’s also important to have privacy within your home. If you’re designing a family home, you need everyone to have their own space and to create acoustic insulation to prevent sound carrying. Even if you’re not building a home for your family, you will want to create privacy for when you have guests, as well as privacy from the outside world. Hallways connecting different rooms help to create privacy and also provide a better flow through your home.
When you design a home that boosts wellbeing, you can feel happy and healthy at home. Hire an architect to help you if you want a unique home designed just for you.