Building in London and the home counties comes with some responsibility to the long architectural heritage. The city’s outlying areas, especially, fiercely protect their environment, whether built or natural. Renovating, expanding or building anew outside London requires a respect for the past – and that can go back millennia.
The architecture around Surrey towns like Esher is both wildly varied and quintessentially English, from village terraces to Georgian manors, reimagined Victorians and glassy contemporary villas. Yet every property defers to the landscape, the neighbours and what was there before. A skilled Esher architect will understand how to transform a house of any century or plot a modern structure into the surrounding landscape. Architects that know the area will respect the local heritage while improving upon it.
We formed Scenario in 2007 with a tailor-made approach to domestic architecture. We create functional and beautiful homes out of close collaboration with our clients. That way, our work paints a picture of those who live there. If you’re looking for an Esher architect with a deep knowledge of the region and an open mind, get in touch and share your ideas.
Our landmark project Scenario House demonstrates our commitment to period properties and modern demands. A Victorian conversion in London with soaring ceilings and robust, modern materials, it won a place on the RIBA London Awards shortlist in 2018.
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Your Esher project
We’ve put together an illustrated rundown of the home-building process in Greater London and beyond. It will help when making decisions about your residential project.
Building or expanding a home in Surrey requires permission from your local borough. Since founding Scenario Architecture we have forged successful relationships with planning departments around London and the home counties. Our experience will help you win approval for your project and see it through to completion.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the Elmbridge Borough Council website, click on the planning menu and search past planning applications for your agent’s name.
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 tackle domestic architecture of all scopes and scales, from new-builds to refurbishments, renovations and expansions. Our London studio provides a fully bespoke service, collaborating closely with our clients from the drafting phase through to planning, tender and construction. We strive to complete all our projects on time and on budget. If you’re searching for an Esher architect, visit our online portfolio and find the project that represents your vision.
We use 3D design technology to save our clients time and money and allow them to see what we see. This Chartered Institute of Building case study uses a Scenario project to illustrate the benefits of advanced technology in residential architecture.
Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice, complying with RIBA’s strict health and safety criteria.
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.
It’s a suburb by definition, but you could never call Esher “suburban”. The gracious green enclave is one of Surrey’s cleanest, most manicured and sophisticated. And its tremendous provenance attracts a discriminating, ambitious, house-proud commuter. Drive around Esher’s leafy streets, all pruned, trimmed and mowed with the utmost care. You’ll find tidy houses of every era, freshly painted to their gingerbread trim, bay windows festooned with flowers. Outstanding schools sit behind old stone walls, each with its own vast playing field, and rose gardens grow out over the walking pavements. The leisure offerings are better than most, with international food, wine bars, an upscale cinema, quaint destination-hotel.
Esher’s history is inescapable. Co-opted by Henry VIII as his private hunting ground, it still trades in green space. Great public parks segue into equestrian centres in one direction and to golf courses in the other. Less than a mile west, the 15th-century Wayneflete Tower – all that remains of the grand Esher Palace – overlooks the gentle River Mole. A sandy walking path clings to the river bank as it winds toward Hampton Court. The town has always enjoyed illustrious visitors, from Queen Victoria to George Harrison, who lived on the Claremont Estate in the 1960s.
Modern architects have made enormous statements in Esher, with broad glass boxes on rambling lawns with a pool or once neglected pond. Elmbridge Borough Council has been generous in the past with allowing ambitious plans to germinate with stunning results. But more often homeowners open up existing houses with sprawling loft extensions, Crittall-fronted kitchens and deep basement excavations. In many cases these improvements are undetectable from the pavement view, allowing the heritage architecture to appear as if untouched.
An Esher architect with experience dealing with the local authorities and grounding in period architecture can transform a house with a past into a house with a long and happy future. There are few technical problems a skilled architect can’t solve with creative thinking and a good contractor, so it makes sense to think big.
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.