There is no “typical” home in London. Not any more. Since the oldest surviving houses of the 18th and 19th centuries, every historical era has contributed to the city’s rich housing stock. Few houses, however, perfectly serve our 21st-century lifestyles. The best living spaces today blend the finest heritage elements with contemporary comforts and the hardiest, most efficient materials on the market today.
Achieving that balance in a way that adapts to your lifestyle is our mission at Scenario Architects. Our home expansions, renovations and new-builds deliver efficient, light-bathed layouts that respect the local vernacular and address the way we live today.
Our boutique London practice unites our distinctive contemporary style with our appreciation for heritage architecture. And to achieve the best results, we design in close collaboration with our clients to fashion homes that work for them.
We have put our clients at the centre of our designs, letting their ideas come to the fore. A high-functioning contemporary home that reflects the taste and lifestyle of the homeowner is the product of a deep connection between architect and client.
Our flagship project Scenario House demonstrates our fresh, customised approach to home-expansion and renovation. In 2018, it was shortlisted for a RIBA London Award.
Starting your project
If you’re planning to extend, renovate or build in Southwark or the Greater London Area, this illustrated synopsis will help you in hiring an architect. Keep in mind: most building works in Southwark require approval from Southwark Council. We have years of experience working with council officials to see through building applications.
TipDoes your architect have a successful track record with local planning applications? Visit Southwark Council’s website, click on “Planning and Building Control” and consult the planning register.
AdviceOur electronic guide will help anyone seeking consent from the local council to alter a London property. Download it via the link below.
Your project >> Scenario Architecture
Working with Scenario Architecture on your project
We specialise in residential architecture on every scale, from refurbishments and full renovations to new-builds. Our experienced, highly skilled architects offer bespoke architecture services across London and the Southeast. We operate a RIBA Chartered Practice complying with the health and safety criteria of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
We are early-adopters of innovative 3D design technology for the most accurate up-to-the-minute visualisations. We recently took part in a Chartered Institute of Building case study demonstrating the benefits of advanced 3D technology in domestic design.
Your project >> Further Reading
Known for its charming Georgian terraces, converted Victorian warehouses and young, creative demographic, the Ancient Borough of Southwark is one of London’s oldest neighbourhoods. The bit abutting the Thames, between Blackfriars and Tower Bridges, was, and is, considered the city’s first official suburb. Continuously settled since before the Romans, it evolved from tribal territory to tranquil farmland to industrial wasteland in recent centuries.
The past few decades have seen Southwark transform its postindustrial fabric, reduce its brownfield with clever infill, manage traffic and clean up the air, making the swath attractive for Londoners of every type to work, play and live. From your patch of “the Borough” – or so it’s called, to distinguish it from “the City” – you can construct the sort of spacious, sun-lit retreat that makes you forget you’re in one of the densest urban areas in Europe. Yet without ever leaving the borough, you can look at world-class art, view avant-garde theatre and dance, eat at lauded restaurants and even walk into work.
What we know well as Southwark is the mile or so circling Southwark Tube, on the Jubilee Line. It covers Shakespeare’s Globe, the Shard, City Hall, the breathtaking Southwark Cathedral, Borough Market and Bermondsey, a fast-gentrifying enclave clinging to buzzy Bermondsey Street. But the Borough actually stretches beyond the massive redevelopment around Elephant and Castle east into Rotherhithe, abutting Deptford and Greenwich, and reaches down past Dulwich and Peckham, where families settle once they’ve left Camberwell College for the Arts, or outgrown nearby Brixton.
Conventional wisdom has it that real estate is less expensive in these neighbourhoods south of the Thames. Certainly the closer you get to Rotherhithe, Nunhead and even Peckham, the more likely you are to get more space per pound than in North or West London – though new Overground services to these areas are making them more desirable. But increasingly houses in Dulwich, Dulwich Village and East Dulwich are demanding top dollar. The allure is its vintage housing stock, outstanding schools and village life. Londoners come from all corners to visit the taxidermy at the Horniman Museum and Old Masters at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Access to green space for Dulwichers is almost unparalleled south of the Thames.
Architects in and around Southwark have done much lately to make the borough an attractive prospect for families and young professionals. The local council is open to home expansion and other improvements and many innovative designs pass council approval. A good architect can take an average Southwark flat, terraced house or semi-detached Victorian and bring it into the 21st century with massive curb appeal.
In our clients 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.
- 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.