Few towns are more desirable to live than Marlow: bang on the Thames, surrounded by areas of natural beauty and within an hour’s drive of London. In the cosy, old-world centre the range of housing options is surprisingly vast, from Victorian semis to mock Tudor villas and detached midcentury homes.
Improving a home in this corner of Buckinghamshire is reasonably straightforward for Marlow architects familiar with local building restrictions and respectful of the local character. We have had ample experience in and around the county, transforming tight quarters with elegant, efficient spaces flooded in natural light.
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Your Marlow project
Our period conversions and new-build homes set a standard for 21st-century architecture that sits comfortably within in a historic setting. We bring a unique, contemporary sensibility to the quintessential English home with cutting-edge technology and hard-wearing materials.
Our success is down to our collaborative process, which puts our client at the centre of the design. A beautiful, highly functional home is the product of a deep understanding and precise analysis of each homeowner’s unique lifestyle, and this shows in our work.
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 is a boutique architecture studio focused on high-end residential projects in London and the Home Counties. Our bespoke architecture service tackles domestic projects of every scale and complexity, from interior alterations to full renovations and new-builds. Our highly skilled team takes you step-by-step through the challenge of designing your space, collaborating closely from the initial drawings to the successful completion of your project, on time and on budget.
We use 3D design and visualisation tools as a standard for all projects. Our experience shows that real-time visualisations and virtual reality are efficient for simulating natural light and choosing finishes and fittings. Our 3D building information modelling (BIM) technology produces reliable construction information, so all our project data derives from an accurate, coordinated 3D model. This Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) case study uses a Scenario project to demonstrate the benefits of advanced technology for domestic architecture.
Scenario is a RIBA Chartered Practice complying with the strict criteria of the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects (RIBA).
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.
The tranquil Home Counties are more appealing than ever for house-buyers craving space for a family or home office. Not only does Marlow, a gem on the fringes of Buckinghamshire, sit in a storied region populated for centuries, it offers the best of both worlds: a small-town lifestyle within commuting distance of London. Driving into the city takes less than an hour, and trains from the neighbouring station in Maidenhead reach London Paddington in less than 50 minutes.
The ancient market town, along with Thames-side neighbours like Henley, is steadily improving with independent shops and restaurants, outstanding schools, better transport and a more diverse population. Compared with living in London, where the smaller, more restricted housing stock is far more challenging to update and expand, homeowners in Marlow have a lot more freedom to build out and fewer sacrifices to consider. Conservatories, kitchen extensions, outbuildings and summer houses are common in Marlow’s close-knit community. Gardens tend to be deeper and more accommodating.
Yet homeowners in Marlow have a duty to respect the long architectural heritage of the area and the fiercely protected environment. Whether building a house from scratch or renovating a period property, one should never design in a vacuum. Houses on the leafy streets around Marlow’s old centre keep a low profile, sit back from the road and tend not to overlook one another. Moving beyond the A404 to the east and Higginson Park to the west, owners have more scope for creativity and added space – ditto in the area directly around Marlow Station, where homes are younger and less rigidly protected.
Marlow architects working with the bones of an original home in the area won’t find it too complex to create open, efficient living spaces that meet the needs of a modern family or remote worker. There will always be potential to expand outward to the rear from the kitchen or upward into the loft, or build a double-height glazed extension to let in the surrounding landscape – Marlow is surrounded by green, nestled in the swath of land between the Chiltern Valley and the Thames. For these reasons many long-time Londoners leave the city and find themselves not regretting the move for a moment.
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.