Southwark Architects

Southwark Architects

Southwark Architects

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.

View Our Projects

Southwark Architects Your project

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.

Tip

Does 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.

Southwark Architects

Advice

We have created guides for homeowners to provide additional advice and help with your project. The following eBooks are currently available for you to download:

1. Planning in London and the home counties - A guide for homeowners
2. Self build - A guide to building your own new build home
Download eBooks

Southwark Architects 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.

Southwark Architects

Full-width extension opens to the beautiful garden of this Victorian property

Southwark Architects

Complete renovation and extension of a family home

Southwark Architects

The proposal extends further to the side but maintains the maximum height of the existing.

Southwark Architects 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.

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Southwark Architects In our clients words

FAQ

Southwark Architects

FAQWhat is the cost of building an extension?
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.

Southwark Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to sustainability?
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 (www.envisioneco.com), 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.

Southwark Architects

FAQWhat is unique about the Scenario design process?
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.

Southwark Architects

FAQWhich additional consultants are required for 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.

Southwark Architects

FAQWhat is Scenario’s approach to planning?
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. 

Southwark Architects

FAQHow long will it take to obtain planning permission for my project?
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.

Southwark Architects

FAQWhat is pre-planning and will it be required 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.