Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects About us

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.

Berkshire Architects 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.

Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects

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.

Berkshire Architects 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.

Berkshire Architects

Berkshire Architects In our client's words

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Berkshire Architects 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.

Berkshire Architects 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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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. 

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    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.

    Berkshire Architects

    FAQWhat is the fee structure used by Scenario Architecture?

Berkshire Architects 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.

Create Privacy

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.