Modern Contemporary Residential Architects

Working In Kent and Sussex

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RIBA Charterd Practice
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Listed Building Extensions

Extending Listed Buildings

Do You Live in a Listed Building And Need More Space?

We can design a modern luxury extension to provide the space you need for you and your family.

The needs and aspirations of a 21st century family are very different to those of 500 or even 50 years ago, but don’t let listed building status be an obstacle. Owners of listed buildings act as guardians of our historic environment for the long term benefit of the whole community but apart from the joy of owning a piece of history there needs to be flexibility to allow for modern lifestyles. Owners priorities are often torn between the needs of modern living and the need to preserve the building's historic value and balancing these can be difficult.

Decisions made by planning officers tender to prioritise heritage value however funding the high cost of maintaining these buildings for the long term benefit of the community is also important. So how is that cost met? Mainly by wealthy owners who can afford the upkeep, with no help from the government or tax relief.

Our Design Approach

We add to listed buildings in a contemporary style that is obviously of today, without harming building's history. Our interventions create contemporary living spaces that fit with the character of the existing building. The changes we make carefully avoid harming the character and setting of a listed building and introduce new elements are clearly of their time so that the history of the building remains readable. We aim to complement the existing building, not to create a pastiche copy.

Our challenge is to design in a way that maintains the attractiveness of the house to owners, maintains the funding needed for long term preservation of the property and preserves historic fabric and social history that make the building worthy of preservation.

The Case For Allowing Extensions

So why should any extension be allowed?

Listed buildings don't have the type of open plan living spaces that modern life demands however these are an important feature to ensure the long term viability of listed houses. Our clients may be prepared to take on the long term costs of maintaining buildings, outbuildings and gardens, but they also want the opportunity to enlarge the house to suit their lifestyle. If enlargement is restricted too much, they struggle to see the benefit in spending the money needed to sustain the long term preservation.

Contemporary Contrast

There can be a conflict between extending and preserving the “setting” of the listed building. However buildings must evolve to reflect change and will need to do so again in the future otherwise they cease to be relevant and become unsustainable.

Our Top Tips

1 - Take Advice: Consult an architect with a good track record of working with listed buildings. A well qualified architect will help you achieve your lifestyle needs whilst ensuring everything you do complies with the law

2 - Choose The Best Architect You Can Afford: The right Architect will add significant value to your project from the very first stage so think of the Architect’s fees as an investment in the value of your home, not just as a cost. Design and construction can be very frustrating at times, so you will need to get long well with the Architect you choose

3 - Work In 3D: Most clients struggle to “read” a 2D drawing. Its an artificial representation that can be a barrier to the understanding of your project. Working in 3D helps you understand the project better and avoids construction stage changes that can result in considerable cost and delay. It also presents the scheme to the listed buildings officer in the best possible way

4 - Be Clear About What You Want: Make a list of the things that are important to you; but don't try to design the works yourself - leave that to the Architect

5 - Obtain Listed Building Consent: It's a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building without consent but remember that listed building consent is different from planning permission - often you need both

6 - Take Your Role As Client Seriously: Owning a listed building is a big responsibility - altering or extending one, equally so. Be prepared to commit to the time and cost of getting the design right as well as to the higher construction cost associated with listed buildings, be flexible about how your needs are met and be patient with the time that careful design and assessment takes you will be rewarded with a new lease of life for your building that will give you joy for many years

Case Studies

Take a look at these projects that go into more detail about our design approach and how planning consent was obtained:

Extension To Baillie Scott Listed Home

Sunken Garden Extension