Buying a home in the Southeast is an exciting prospect that comes with its share of responsibility. Where even rural areas are steeped in history, your property has an anchor in the past. If you’re planning on updating, expanding or even building anew, you’ll want an architect educated and experienced in retaining and respecting the past while appreciating today’s lifestyles.
Our work in London and the Home Counties demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the charm of period architecture while designing adaptable, contemporary spaces in a sustainable way.
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Your Harpenden project
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. Our experience with residential architecture around Harpenden shows that a beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each client’s unique lifestyle. Our tailor-made homes tell the story of the owners – not the architects.
Our innovative design process helps us reinterpret traditional house typologies with unique style and design new-builds that respond to the existing streetscape. Our collaborative pre-planning strategy gains approval from local council authorities.
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
Our boutique studio focuses on high-end residential architecture around London and the southeast. We tackle interior alterations and refurbishments to full renovations and new-builds, collaborating closely with our clients from the initial drawings, detail design and planning through tender, construction. We strive to complete all our projects 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 systems.
Early adopters of the latest technology, we use innovative 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology 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. All our project data comes from an accurate, coordinated 3D model to save our clients time and money. This Chartered Institute of Building case study, featuring a Scenario project, demonstrates the 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.
Before London’s economic supremacy in the southeast, Hertfordshire reigned supreme. The Romans established Verulanium near present-day St Albans and it became the third largest city in Britain. Settlers there branched out into what is now Harpenden, and the area was overtaken by family farms and woodland. After the arrival of the Normans to Britain, populations flourished in Harpenden. And the region benefitted as London began to expand northward. St Nicholas Church, set back from the high street, goes back to the 13th century.
Until the railways established a link between London and Harpenden, the town was a great employer of women who wove straw for boaters and bonnets. Yet soon the town’s pretty geography became a destination for Londoners into horse-racing and golfing. Eventually they settled here to live. Today the Thameslink train line connects Harpenden to London’s St Pancras Station in about 25 minutes.
The allure for home-buyers is not only its accessibility to London but the outstanding state and prep schools, sports centres, green spaces and heritage pubs. Harpenden has its share of Georgian properties yet the lion’s share is Edwardian and mid-century – some of the best-preserved period homes fan out from the church green. The mix of Victorian and postwar building stock gives the town a comfortable suburban roominess within an urban setting.
Landscaping was increasingly important to the growing middle classes in the early 20th century, and those values inspired an attention to sizeable gardens that continues even in today’s modern developments. As for the architectural fabric, it is ripe for renewal and expansion. The current trend toward “don’t move, improve” means families are staying in this prime Hertfordshire location and expanding their houses considerably. In 20th-century Harpenden homes, regulations are more permissive than in Central London.
Harpenden architects will be well versed in the planning restrictions for historic properties and steer you toward a compassionate renovation or extension. Barring the availability of such listed properties, Hertfordshire has its fair share of well-designed mid-century developments, which are finally receiving some of the critical praise they are due for their practical layouts and vast banks of glazing. Though many of these properties will have architectural restrictions, structural changes could be less complicated. In the hands of Harpenden architects, a typical post war house will transform into a unique contemporary haven.
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.