Architects in Southwark
MATA Architects is a RIBA chartered architecture practice located in Westbourne Green, a vibrant area of London situated just six miles west of Southwark. Our practice draws inspiration from the diverse residential and cultural landscape that surrounds us, allowing us to create innovative designs that reflect the unique character of the city. With its abundance of leafy green spaces, world-renowned architectural landmarks, and excellent transport links, Southwark is widely regarded as one of the most desirable areas to live in in London. As architects, we take pride in contributing to this rich architectural legacy and helping to shape the future of this dynamic neighbourhood.
We pride ourselves on working closely with our clients to help transform their properties into life-enhancing architecture. Every home should be built around the way you want to live. Using a logical and inventive methodology, we involve you at every stage to help shape your home into a true reflection of your lifestyle and values – whilst crafting beautiful spaces that are thoughtful and pragmatic.
If you wish to speak to a Southwark Architect, book your initial no-obligation consultation with us to discuss your home extension project and we’ll help answer any of your questions.
Planning Applications in Southwark
We can help you understand more about how planning permissions are processed and what to do after submitting your planning application. Further advice on planning permissions in the London Borough of Southwark is available here.
How to Make a Planning Application in Southwark
It is your responsibility to decide whether or not planning permission is required and submit an application where relevant.
Information on online planning applications, the documents you will need, validation checklists and fees for the London Borough of Southwark are available here.
Need expert advice on planning permission? With a proven track record and a 100% success rate at planning, let us navigate the planning process for you.
As experts in the field, we know how to manage risk and identify opportunities that pave the way to a successful planning application. Find out more.
How to Get Planning Permission in a Conservation Area in Southwark
Planning permission is formal permission from a local authority for the alteration or erection of buildings. It can be granted, based on certain conditions being met, or refused.
Conservation areas exist to protect the special architectural and historic interests of an area. Planning applications are considered in regard to conservation policies as local authorities must take into account the need to preserve or enhance the area when deciding whether to grant planning permission.
Applying for planning permission in a Conservation Area (CA) requires more detailed supporting information than an equivalent application outside of a CA.
A robust and carefully considered proposal that demonstrates an awareness and response to local policy and design guidance will stand a much greater chance of success.
The Southwark Conservation Area audits and planning guides are available here. These guides are a material consideration at the planning stage and provide some direction on what is and isn’t possible in terms of design alterations.
There are 48 designated conservation areas across the London Borough of Southwark. Conservation areas include: Bermondsey Street, Camberwell Green, Dulwich Village, Grosvenor Park, St. Mary’s Rotherhithe, Tower Bridge, Trinity Church Square & Union Street, etc.
Check if your property is located within a conservation area on the local authority interactive map.
How long does a planning decision take?
Applications usually take between six to eight weeks, but this could be longer depending on the complexity of the proposed project.
Read our more in-depth guide on how long it takes to be granted planning permission.
What can I do if my planning application is refused?
If your planning application is rejected or you are not satisfied with the conditions of your planning permission, you have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The appeal will be considered by a planning inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. While most appeals are handled in writing, some are decided by a hearing and some after a public inquiry.
You can search for appeals in the RBKC appeal search.
Do I need planning permission for an extension?
It is important to distinguish between an extension that necessitates a detailed planning application and one that falls under Permitted Development (PD).
If your planned works fall under the former category you do not need explicit permission from the local authority and a planning application will not be necessary.
In this case, though, we would recommend that a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) is sought from the local authority in order to create a formal record of the works and their legitimacy.
Read our guide on further planning & regulations and Article 4 directions.
Are there fees for submitting planning applications in Southwark?
The local authority fee for a Householder planning application is £206.
Fees are determined by local authorities on the assessment of a planning application and the scale and nature of your proposed development.
You’ll also need to allow for the fees of an architect, other consultants and specialist surveys. Read more about the costs involved here.
How to get listed building consent in Southwark
A listed building is one that’s on the Statutory List of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, and requires listed building consent for any demolition, extension, or alteration. To obtain this consent, thorough research and documentation of the building’s historical significance are necessary. A Heritage Impact Assessment is conducted to identify the positive and negative impacts of the proposed changes. The aim is to demonstrate that any negative impacts are outweighed by positive ones. Specialist heritage consultants may be involved in this process.
There are approximately 2,200 listed buildings in the London Borough of Southwark. Search the Historic England listed register to find listed buildings near you.
Learn more about our listed building consent services here.
Our Architectural Services in Southwark
Book a free consultation
We’ll listen to your ideas and give you our informed opinion
We’ll tailor a strategy and scope of service to suit your needs
You’ll receive an initial project brief and a clear mapping out of the next steps, together with our fee proposal
Frequently Asked Questions
To get started, here are some of the more frequent questions clients’ have at the initial exploratory stages
Can I meet with you initially at no cost?
You can book a free 45-minute consultation in our studio or via zoom. We’ll discuss your project and answer your questions face to face. Make a booking here.
Following this conversation, if you like the idea of working with us and feel we’d be a good fit for your project, we are happy to offer a follow up meeting at your home at no cost.
I don’t exactly know what I want to build yet? How or where do we begin?
It begins with a conversation. During our initial phone consultation, we’ll ask probing questions of your brief to help assess it’s viability.
The next step involves a diagnostic stage we call ‘Project Discovery’ (RIBA Work Stages 0-1 / Feasibility). We'll address your brief through the exploration of a number of alternative sketch proposals and assess the implications of each (time / cost / risk etc).
Beyond this we can tailor our scope of architectural services to suit your specific requirements and budget.
Whether you engage us for a full service from feasibility to completion or, at first, just for the ‘Project Discovery’ (more on that soon), you are only ever committed to the current work stage. So, you can (and we’d encourage you to) start small with a discrete piece of work to help figure out the extent of the project and then add to the scope of service as suits your needs and budget.
This initial piece of work can also be a good way to dip your toe into the architectural process and gauge what it’s like to work with us before committing to a longer-term working relationship.
How will you ensure we stick to my budget?
Sticking to budget is critical. One of the common pitfalls of a construction project is losing control of the budget (or not having one in the first place).
To keep a handle on costs from the outset, our process involves a cycle of designing, communicating and costing. We do this by:
- We will talk about costs early and often. ‘Cost’ is not a dirty word.
- We’ll be upfront with you and make you aware of choices that are likely to increase the budget, and provide cost effective alternatives to these.
- Early involvement of a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to assist with cost control. This involvement could range from a full service to a discrete piece of work in the form of an Initial Cost Model (at the end of Concept Design Stage) to help forecast cost and interrogate in detail where the money is being spent, which in turn helps identify opportunities for savings.
- Strict vetting of contractors to ensure quality, reliability and value for money.
How long does a typical residential project take?
A range of factors impact timeframes. This includes project complexity, speed of client feedback and decisions and local authority approvals. To give you a broad idea allow for a:-
- Simple project: 4-6 months for design and 4-6 months on site.
- Complex renovation or build: 6-9 months for design and 9-12 months on site.
- Planning approval: if your project requires planning approval add 2 months to the above timescales.
Can you tell me how you structure your fees and what they are?
Like all professional services, architectural fees are not cheap (but neither is getting the design wrong, by the way). However, it might help to view them as an investment.
That said, we are cost conscious at every step of the way. Once the project scope is defined at the start of the journey, we’ll fix our fees and prepare a schedule of invoicing so that you know exactly what you are paying and when. Everything is transparent and clear.
In addition to our design process, working with us also provides access to our years of accumulated knowledge and experience. You will benefit from our network of specialist consultants, industry suppliers and our team’s ability to guide you through the process, avoiding the common pitfalls of construction to deliver life-enhancing architecture.
We offer multiple service tiers to accommodate different budgets and goals:
‘Project Discovery’ / (RIBA Stages 0-1) (from £1,500 +VAT)
Get an informed opinion on your ideas and gain clarity on design direction and budget.
We approach this early-stage work as a ‘diagnostic’ stage. We’ll ask probing questions of your brief and budget and of your underlying assumptions. We’ll analyse your property and/ or site in detail to reveal constraints and opportunities. Once these have been identified we can begin to prescribe solutions. This includes:
- Review relevant local design guides, planning policy and comparable planning applications in order to build up a picture of precedent.
- Carry out detailed analysis of the site and immediate environment to assess opportunities and constraints.
- Floor plans and sketches illustrating options.
- A 1 hour meeting in your home to discuss the project.
- A 2 hour workshop in our studio or via zoom (you choose).
- A written brief outlining the opportunities, risk, budget and project timeframe.
- Guidance on next steps, additional consultants and approvals required.
‘Project Planning’ / (RIBA Stages 0-3) (from £7,500 +VAT)
We’ll take you up to and including submission of a detailed planning application, including liaising with the local authority during the running of the application and up to it’s determination.
Building on the work and our conclusions from the Project Discovery we’ll develop proposals with you, communicating the evolving design clearly through 3D visuals and 2D drawings so that you’re empowered to make the best decisions. In working toward the application for planning approval, we’ll hold a series of fortnightly workshops with you (via zoom or in our studio) to review the design collaboratively and make decisions together, taking into account key aspects such as cost, program and risk in addition to functionality and aesthetic considerations.
This tier of service will suit those who want help in achieving the best possible outcome at planning but are happy to go it alone from there.
You always have the option of retaining us for the later stages of your project.
Full Service / (RIBA Stages 0-6)
Typically, our clients choose this service tier when they want our support from inception to the day they move in. We provide a full design service, alongside project management and an optional interior design service.
Good design takes time to mature. It doesn’t happen in a single eureka moment! Rather a series of steps, much like evolution, each one refining and improving on the last.
You’ll benefit from us on board as project managers throughout, contract administrators on site and maximum design time and thinking from our team.
This service is best suited to renovations, extensions or new builds where you want to invest time in the design to get it just right and create the perfect outcome borne out of obsessive attention given to every little detail. Just how we like it. Chat to us to discuss costs.
For all of our tiered services, take advantage of the complimentary free consultation to get a clear and simple fee guide for your project.
Do you have a minimum construction budget you will work with for a full service?
Due to the bespoke nature of our process, we typically work with homeowners with a minimum Project Budget of £250,00 at their disposal.
Project Planning(RIBA Stages 0-3)
Everything in the Project Discovery and:
+ Developed proposals through 3D visuals and 2D drawings.
+ Fornightly design development workshops in our studio or via Zoom (you choose).
+ Drawing pack and information for a planning application.
+ Submit and manage the planning application including liasing with the planners up to determination of the application.
Full Service(RIBA Stages 0-6)
- Typically, our clients choose this service tier when they want our support from inception to the day they move in.
- This service is best suited to homeowners that want to invest time in the design, retain full control over all of the details and get it just right. A life enhancing home you’ll never want to leave.
- We provide a full design service, alongside project management and an optional interior design service.
- Get in touch.
Why We Love Architecture In Southwark
Southwark is packed with varying architectural features – from swanky modern flats by the river to grandiose Gothic/Romanesque parishes and famous landmarks. The district faced depopulation in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but eventually saw residential and commercial development due to its position at the southern end of the early versions of London Bridge.
Some of Southwark’s architecturally significant buildings include:
The Tower Bridge (not to be confused with London Bridge), is a combined bascule and suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames. It has become one of the city’s most recognisable landmarks. The East End of London saw dramatic commercial expansion in the late nineteenth century, consequently leading to high demand for a new river crossing for better access. Construction on the bridge began in 1886 and was designed by Horace Jones and engineered by John Wolfe Barry. The Neo-Gothic design was selected so that the bridge had a comparable aesthetic to the Tower of London – a decision made in response to Queen Victoria’s initial objection to the bridge seeming ‘out of place’.
The construction is 800 feet (240m) in length and consists of two 213-foot (65m) towers connected at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, and a central pair of bascules that open to allow shipping. The bridge officially opened in 1894. The aim was to ensure the structure would last 99 years. Now, over 125 years later, Tower Bridge is still standing – a testimony to its outstanding design and construction.
Church of St Mary Magdalen, Bermondsey
The Church St Mary Magdalen is a Grade II listed Anglican church. The majority of the present infrastructure dates back to the seventeenth century. The original designs of the church recorded in 1290 are not known. The church was demolished and rebuilt in 1680, retaining much of its late mediaeval gothic windows and arches. This rebuilding was completed around 1690, eventually followed by alterations under the supervision of George Porter in 1830. Porter remodelled the church in an unacademic Gothic style. The interior was later redecorated in the Gothic Revival style in 1852.
Nelson House (also known as Nelson Dock House) is a Grade II listed building constructed in 1743 in an immaculate Georgian style. The house was formerly owned by shipbuilder John Randall. It was built on the site of a former shipyard and intended as a home for shipbuilders, including Randall. The three-storey building is composed of stone brick, with original front façade features such as Doric columns and Venetian windows. After the Battle of Trafalgar in the nineteenth century, the house was named after Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.
Southwark Cathedral lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge. It is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark and a historical masterpiece. The frequent reconstruction makes this landmark an architectural wonder, boasting some of the oldest and most beautiful examples of mediaeval, Norman and Gothic architecture in London. According to the Doomsday Book, the church has been a place of Christian worship for more than 1,000 years, but a cathedral only since the creation of the diocese of Southwark in 1905.
Although mostly destroyed by the Great Fire of 1212, there are still fragments of the original Norman structure. The church was again damaged by fire in the 1390s, and in around 1420 the Bishop of Winchester, Henry Beaufort, assisted with the rebuilding. In its reconstructed state, the present building retains the basic layout of the Gothic style built between 1220 and 1420.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe is a recreation of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse for which William Shakespeare wrote and performed his plays. The original theatre was built in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, led by Richard Burbage. The Globe was deliberately designed to reflect elements of Classic Greek and Roman architecture – specifically structures such as an amphitheatre. It reflected not the D-shape of an amphitheatre, but a 20-sided structure as near to a circle as Elizabethan carpentry could allow. A platform stage was projected into a large circular yard surrounded by three tiers of raked seating. The theatre was destroyed by a fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644.
In 1970, Sam Wanamaker pursued the vision of recreating the Globe theatre as it existed in Shakespeare’s time. Over the period of twenty years, the Shakespeare Globe Trust worked with architect Theo Crosby of Pentagram and historical adviser John Orrell, to carry out careful research into building as faithful a replica of the original theatre as possible. The theatre is entirely constructed to appear as an “authentic” sixteenth-century, timber-framed building with no structural steel and a thatched roof. The Third Globe theatre opened on Bankside in 1997 and still operates as one of the world’s most popular theatre venues.
“We have been more than happy at each step of the process, with Dan being able to articulate our intentions into the most beautiful design. Thus elevating our original thoughts and expectations”
- Kharmel Cochrane
“Dan achieved the right balance, always on hand, resolving any issues constructively, ensuring the experience was efficient and enjoyable on a challenging project”
- Neil Prosser
“While the construction phase was bumpy at times, MATA remained professional throughout and a genuine ally. We now have a beautiful and highly functional, if rather unconventional, first-floor extension”
- Marc Franks
“The planning permission stage could not have been smoother: it was approved on first review without a single revision to the ambitious design – a testament to the thorough preparation and thought that MATA put into the application.”
- Katherine & Shaun
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