Leading Residential Architecture Firm In London



Residential Architecture

As a team of residential architects based in London, AURA finds great satisfaction in enhancing the lives of hundreds of London residents.

In selecting one of the leading residential  architecture firms in London, the team at Aura will revitalise your home, utilising natural light throughout, maximising and creating much-needed space, and can often obtain planning permission for the home of your dreams where others may have given up trying. It all happens at our Clapham design office!

This helpful guide on this page on “how to choose a London Architect” is a must-read if you’re considering extending or renovating your home. When planning a new home design, don’t leave it too late to contact an architect.  The process of finalising the design and then obtaining planning permission from the local London borough council typically takes around 3 months, and the building works cannot commence until that is complete.

Listed Building

Selecting a London Architecture Firm

Starting a new building or renovation project can be a challenging event. Not only does the thought of what is ahead seem daunting, choosing an architecture firm can be confusing. There are so many claiming to be the top architecture firm in London. Here are some important differentiators you should consider when selecting the right architect for your project.

Home designs with natural lighting in mind

A common issue with many older style London homes is a lack of natural lighting.  Studies show that high levels of natural light improve your sense of well-being, and can even improve your health.  A good architect knows all the innovative ways to bring plenty of natural light into the home. They also know how to do so in a sustainable way.


View our light-wells and other home design innovations here.

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Choose an Architecture Firm with Good Online Reviews

The best way to find a London Architecture firm that you can trust is to read what their customers say about them.


AURA Architecture have proven themselves to be outstanding by winning the Build Magazine Home & Garden Award in 2019 as the ‘Most Trusted Architecture Practice in Greater London’. We are pleased to have this living proof that we are practising our core values of honesty and integrity.


You can view our online reviews on Houzz here.

Fixed Fees vs Percentage Based Fees

Many architects in London charge a fee based on the percentage of the project value.  When an architect’s fees are calculated in this way, it can tempt them to think up the most expensive and unnecessary features to add into the project.


In other words, they are more interested in the money than you, their client. An architecture firm with their clients’ best interests in mind will always give top priority to what is best for the client. If the client isn’t too sure what they want, a trusted architect will help them make informed decisions.


AURA Architecture believes the only fair way to charge is with fixed, transparent fees. Read our comprehensive guide to how our fees are structured.

Knowledge of Local Planning Permission Requirements

There are certain home improvement projects that you can complete without needing planning permission or building regs. 


A knowledgeable architect who knows the local area can advise you on this – the regulations are not straightforward, and extensions allowed under permitted development on 1 street may not be allowed on a neighbouring street. However, for larger projects, you normally need to enlist the help of an architect familiar with your local area.


Check that your chosen architecture firm is familiar with all these requirements. An experienced London architect firm will know just how much they can do without the need for planning permission.

Detailed Project Monitoring

The best London architecture firms will have staff that specialise in each stage of the architect process. Whether it be working with planning consultants, architectural design, or finding the right builder or tradesman.


AURA follow the RIBA architect stages to ensure no details get overlooked.


Read the Aura process about how we care for every stage of the project.

london home

Why are the UK's best firms in London?

Residential London architects represent some of the best UK architect talent.  Extreme lack of space, high property prices, and comparatively wealthy clients, combine to create demands and expectations on London residential architecture firms that are not found elsewhere in the UK.

residential architects

Lack of Space

Architecture firms in London are expected to provide innovative, highly functional, high-end residential property improvements and extensions, create extra space where hardly any space is available, and obtain planning permission from some of the toughest planners in the country. (Richmond is particularly tricky for planning).

A High Proportion of Period Properties and 100s of Conservation Areas

Many properties are old, boasting beautiful period features not found in modern properties. London Architects are challenged with adding the modern features to improve a client’s lifestyle, yet in a way that doesn’t detract from the property’s unique period charm and beauty.


Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian properties abound, ranging from the iconic rows of 3-storey terraces, to stately stone-built detached properties in the more leafy and spacious suburbs like Chiswick, Kensington, Chelsea, and Bromley.


The ability to sympathetically extend and refurbish period properties is key to obtaining planning permission, especially if you live in one of London’s many conservation areas.

Requirements For Sustainable Architecture

Sustainability is another key requirement that many London homeowners are looking for from their architect.  They are typically more conscious of their environmental responsibilities than in other areas of the country.  Therefore aspects such as energy savings, low carbon footprint, and the sustainability of materials used are all important considerations for London architects.


AURA specialise in sustainable residential architecture.  From whether or not you need planning permission to install solar panels on your roof, through to ingenious ways to make your glass and metal extension as energy efficient as a traditional brick and mortar extension, we are passionate about improving the sustainability and eco-friendliness of our architecture.

Lack of Natural Light

And last but not least, natural light is a huge consideration in London.  The older properties traditionally have small windows, and modifications to period properties are not easy to obtain planning for, and over-crowding sometimes leading to blocked light from neighbouring properties.


Loft conversions and single-storey extensions are relatively easy to optimise for natural light, with skylights and floor to ceiling windows quickly providing an airy feel to improve your sense of well-being. But the best London architects can introduce natural light to just about any room in the house – see these examples of how we can draw natural light deep into residential properties, even basement extensions, with our creative home designs.

Group photo of the Aura Architecture team of architects and interior designers

Residential & Commercial Architects Compared

When you think of London architecture, you may think of famous modern landmarks like the Shard or the Gherkin.  Or you may think of timeless classics like the Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, or St Paul’s Cathedral.

But you’re unlikely to think of the most common type of London architecture of all: the millions of homes, often combining their original build period architecture with later contemporary extensions and interior refurbishments.

The job of a residential architect is very different from that of those designing commercial buildings.


With most residential properties, the home’s interior layout & design is usually the biggest consideration, rather than the exterior.  And for a residential architect, the specific lifestyle preferences of the client living at the property need to be combined with maximising the resale value, plus what is acceptable to building control and the Borough planning authorities; these priorities often conflict.  An experienced architect is a considerable advantage to finding a creative way to solve this conundrum.


This is why it’s important to choose a residential architect firm like AURA, who specialise in intimately understanding the needs and desires of London’s homeowners.