With an extensive portfolio of completed residential projects throughout North London over more than a decade, we see Highgate as our backyard. Our clients have made us the architects of choice in the area: changing Highgate’s architectural landscape house by house.
Our boutique architecture practice was just months old when we won a commission to renovate and extend a vast family home in North Grove, Highgate, incorporating bespoke shelving and cabinetry and our trademark sinuous curves. Thus began a long and fruitful relationship with Haringey Council’s Planning Department and, later, Camden Council. Over more than a decade, we’ve developed an extensive portfolio of completed projects in Highgate and North London, earning our way to becoming the local architects of choice.
When our Highgate clients moved into their completed home, they recommended Scenario Architecture to friends who had decided to embark on an extensive renovation of their imposing North London family home. Local commissions snowballed from there. Our latest project in the area is an innovative scheme in Muswell Hill, recently granted planning permission from Haringey Council.
We established Scenario in 2007 with a vision to develop a uniquely collaborative architecture. We take a considered approach to our clients’ desires, placing their aspirations for a new, architect-designed home in high definition. The clients’ needs are the main drivers of our design process.
A beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle – and that shows in our work. Scenario’s tailor-made homes tell the story of the owners – not the architects.
Our landmark project Scenario House, located in Stoke Newington, was covered widely by the media and shortlisted for several prestigious architecture awards – including the 2018 RIBA London Awards. It demonstrates our successful approach to domestic architecture projects.
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Your Highgate project
If you’re considering a residential architectural project in Highgate or North London, we’re here to help, whether it’s a renovation, extension or new-build. We’ve created a brief illustrated overview to help you understand each stage of the process, whether you’re planning a home extension, renovation or new-build in North London. Most architecture projects in Highgate require planning permission from Haringey or Camden Council. With our successful record securing planning permission on behalf of our clients, we can claim home advantage across North London.
Discover if your chosen architect has had success steering planning applications through your local council. Visit the “planning applications” section 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 Architecture is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects across London. We tackle domestic projects of every scale and complexity, from interior alterations to full renovations and new-builds, through our bespoke architecture service.
Our experienced, highly skilled team can take you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your new space. We’ll collaborate closely from the design and planning stages through tender and construction to the successful completion of your project. On time and on budget.
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.
Early adopters of the latest technology, we use innovative 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are extremely efficient tools for choosing finishes, fixtures and fittings, and simulating natural light. We also 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.
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.
There are few, if any, neighbourhoods in London more blessed than Highgate with green spaces, expansive views outstanding schools and varied architecture. A desirable community for nearly 500 years, the area is firmly on the map with history buffs yet off the radar for status-seekers and tourists. Compared with other storied North London neighbourhoods like Hampstead, Highgate is relatively affordable, too. Choosing to live here really is a no-brainer.
An amazing array of fine domestic architecture exists on the streets bookended by Highgate Wood and Highgate Cemetery. A few half-timbered homes were built when the Stuarts were on the throne, and the rest cycle through the royals, from Queen Anne to Victoria to Elizabeth II – 12 monarchs in all. The architectural timeline of the neighbourhood is entwined with the overall appeal of Highgate and its village atmosphere.
Naturally, anyone hoping to amend or append a home in Highgate requires permission from Haringey Council – more building controls are imposed here than most other London neighbourhoods. Almost the entire acreage lies within a designated Conservation Area going back more than 50 years, and every element of a home, from the front gate to the back shed to the tiles on the roof, requires special dispensation to alter. Still, improving a historic Highgate home is certainly doable. After all, the local guardians want you to upgrade and enhance their treasured housing stock. It just needs to be done in a compassionate, sustainable way that retains the area’s visual appeal (and the resultant high property values).
We think it’s worth the effort. The personal satisfaction that comes with preserving heritage detailing, antique glass, wood and masonry is one of the great joys of living in the capital. And doing so brings one in contact with an incredibly talented cadre of tradespeople and artisans. An experienced architecture practice like Scenario can negotiate with council officials, bring in excellent workers skilled in specific restoration work and bring a decidedly archaic home into the 21st century with cutting edge materials and methods.
There is no reason why a Highgate home should not enjoy the same opportunities for opening up disused, impractical spaces or expanding beyond the original footprint, as long as a deft design is behind the scheme. London wouldn’t be London without its willingness to move forward in the service of conserving the past.
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.