Scenario counts itself among the top residential architecture studios in London. Over more than a decade, we’ve amassed a portfolio of high-end projects across the capital, adding contemporary curves to period homes, and building distinctive, highly functional spaces.
We established Scenario in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative architecture. Our boutique practice takes a considered approach to our clients’ habits, hobbies and aspirations, delivering highly functional contemporary living spaces that tell a story about the owners – not the architects.
Our landmark project Scenario House has been covered widely by the media and shortlisted for several prestigious architecture prizes – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. It demonstrates our innovative and tailored approach to domestic architecture.
Your London Residential project
If you plan to take on a residential architectural project in London, we’re happy to help, whether you’re planning a home extension, renovation or new-build.
We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the process.
Most London architecture projects require planning permission from the local council. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across in and around the capital.
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.
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
Scenario is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects in London and beyond. Through our bespoke architecture service, we tackle domestic projects of every scale and complexity, from interior refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds.
Our friendly and highly skilled team can take you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your new space. We’ll collaborate closely with you from the initial drawings, detail design and planning, guiding you through the tender and construction process and completing your house on time and on budget.
Early adopters of new drafting and building technologies, we use innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience has shown that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are extremely efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light.
We use 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology to produce reliable construction information, so all our project data comes from an accurate, coordinated 3D model. Using this cutting-edge technology collaboratively with consultants and contractors is proven to save our clients time and money.
A Chartered Institute of Building case study featuring a Scenario project demonstrates the great benefits of this advanced technology for domestic architecture.
Scenario Architecture is a RIBA Chartered Practice. We comply with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects, covering insurance, health and safety and quality-management systems.
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.
Out of all the great cities in the world, London has perhaps the richest stock of residential housing with the greatest potential for improvement. But the historic and delicate nature of many houses in the capital, along with the many complicated residential planning and development regulations, means starting your own project can be daunting.
Going directly to a builder or home-extension specialist means the individual foibles and characteristics of your house may be missed in the process of improving in a standardised fashion. Problems crop up along the way that should have been foreseen in the design phase. Hidden potential can be overlooked and materials used without consideration for quality or sustainability.
Using a qualified architect attuned to your personal space will avoid problems later in the process and actually save you money in the long run, adding untold value. Which way does your home face? Where on your property do your neighbours’ views land? Do you plan to expand your family? Do you garden? Where do you spend your time? Do you work at home? Do you cook or entertain? Play music? Are you physically robust? How tall are you? How often do you clean? An architect will pore over these questions and more to land on a specific, bespoke design that speaks to you and your family.
To find a trustworthy architect, visit the website for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). It keeps a project database of more than 40,000 case studies that can match you with precisely the specialist you need for your home within your budget. The professional membership body provides the tools you need for discovering the top practitioners in your area, for your style and in your price range.
Once you’ve found an architect you’ll be happy collaborating with, the process of transforming your home will go much more smoothly. You’ll have the support of an experienced practitioner, starting from the party walls inward, designing hard-working spaces like the kitchen and bathrooms to pushing all those detailed specifications through the planning process to dealing with builders, trades and decorators on site.
At the end of the process, you’ll have a property you’ll want to live in forever. At the very least, it’ll increase in value for you and any potential buyer.
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.
10 Expert Tips to Win Planning Permission on a Garden Plot
Your garden could be the ideal plot for a self-build, largely because the piece of land already belongs to you. If you build on your own garden, you can skip the irritating, time-consuming process of trying to find a buy a plot of land to build on. It also means you can stay in your home while the work is going on.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to have a plot of land that is big enough to build on, there are plenty of gardens around the country that you might be able to carve a plot of land out of. If you’re planning on using a garden plot, what are the planning rules and restrictions on this kind of build? Are there any particular things that you will need to take into account?
If you’re going to build on your garden, there are several things you will need to think carefully about. Your build will need to make sure there is no loss of privacy, light, or view for your neighbours. You will also need to make sure that there is safe access to the site, and that the new building (and the work itself) won’t cause a nuisance to anyone else. Local policies can also cause a problem, especially when you have to think about things like how you safely dispose of foul and surface water. Here are some of the main things that you will need to consider to make sure you can get the planning permission you need to start building.
One of the main issues with using a garden plot is whether or not there is enough space to add in additional property. If you’re considering developing towards the side of your property, then you will also need to think carefully about the look of the street will be changed. A new house ought to fit in with the pattern of the surrounding buildings. A lot of garden plot schemes get rejected for planning permission because they will be too cramped in the space.
Careful design by an architect, e.g. Scenario Architecture, can make the best use of a narrow plot, with tricks like designing the new building to look like part of the larger adjoining house, such as like an out-building. There’s no minimum plot size, but the right design will make all the difference.
When you’re choosing the right design and which materials to use, the same rule of fitting in applies. You don’t have to copy the surrounding houses, and a lot can depend on the tastes of the council, or even the individual officer who deals with your application.
The new house must not overlook the neighbours. This includes windows, not just the garden. Some councils stipulate a minimum separation distance to maintain privacy. In most areas, this is a minimum back-to-back distance for new properties of 20m to 22m.
Privacy problems can be dealt with in your design, which is where your architect comes in. An architect can preserve privacy by arranging rooms carefully, or by using high-level glazing to obscure views in certain directions. If you have a side-garden plot, you might want obscured bathroom windows on the side nearest the neighbours.
Unless the new property is built on the north side of an existing building, overshadowing can be a problem. A common issue with narrow side-garden plots, for example, is the front of the design jutting forward further than the neighbour’s house.
If your build will block natural light from your neighbour’s patio that used to be a sun trap, your project might be rejected. If the loss of light to the neighbouring houses is severe, you might fall foul of light legislation too.
If a new building would remove or intrude on an open outlook of another property, then this could be viewed as a loss of amenity. An outlook is not the same thing as a view, which is not normally taken into consideration when approving or rejecting planning permission.
Removing trees can be a problem with a garden plot, especially if the trees are part of a street scene. Removing trees that are seen as beautifying the neighbourhood tends not to go down well with neighbours or local councillors, even if the removal is needed for the project.
If you plan your landscaping well, you can save as many trees as possible, and get around some of these objections. If you will be building near trees that are significant, you might need a survey as part of your planning application.
If there are protected species on the plot, such as bats living in the trees, then you can run into problems getting planning permission. If there are signs of any protected species on the plot, you will need an ecological survey.
Think about how your garden plot will be drained. In an ideal world, you will be able to link to a public sewer via the driveway, and surface water can go to soak-aways.
You will need to think about this kind of thing early on in the planning process, so you can send some suitable solutions with your planning application. If you can’t access the public sewer, you will need to make sure you have space for a private system.
You must provide a safe entrance and adequate parking, with space to turn a car around on all but quietest estate roads and the most centrally located urban development projects. You will also need to account for any noise and other disturbance from vehicles that will cause an issue for neighbours.
A drive that is squeezed between the house probably won’t be accepted, unless both properties have no windows on the walls overlooking the driveway.
Applications for garden plots can face local political issues. If you can get the support of your neighbours early on in the process, this can help a lot. It will help even more if those neighbours are on, or have friends on, the parish or town council, or have influence at the district or borough council level.