Conservation Architects London

Conservation Architects London

Conservation Architects London

Robert Rhodes Architecture + Interiors are conservation architects in London and believe in the emotional power and cultural relevance of old buildings. London is a city under constant change, and renovating an existing property is one of the easiest ways to create a home within the capital. We care about the buildings we inhabit and believe that London can adapt and evolve to a new meaning whilst retaining integrity and history.

We are in a unique position to advise our clients how to design a building which respects the local area and adheres to the guidelines and restrictions of London planning departments, whether that is listed building status or within a conservation area.

We take a pragmatic approach to advising you, often making recommendations which preserve the integrity of the building but create a design that evolves the building for a future generation. Our work has been included in the Architects; Journal ‘Retrofit Awards’ and the New London Architecture’s ‘Don’t Move, Improve Awards’ for creating schemes which respect the existing building yet create an exceptional design for the homeowner.

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Conservation Architects London

Conservation Architects London
About our practice

We love old buildings. We believe in their emotional power and cultural relevance.

We believe in conservation. We believe it is the essence of sustainability.

We believe in cities. We are committed to London as our home. We are excited by the possibilities that lie ahead and what we can do to make London better.

We believe in regeneration, and the value that comes from collective aspiration, effort and investment.

We believe in people. People regenerate cities.

We do it to make the world better, to make our lives better.

We do it for financial security, for a sound investment, for a legacy, and for fun. What better prize is there than a beautiful home, a beautiful office, a beautiful street, a great café, a great neighbourhood, a beautiful city.

We believe in the transformative power of our actions. We believe that if we do it right, it will benefit everyone, forever.

Through careful action we create sustainable assets that build cultural capital and financial reward. Making the city better, one building at a time.

Conservation Architects London
Tips on renovations

If you’re considering a heritage or conservation project, we can help, whether it’s a renovation, extension or self-build. Most new London architecture projects require planning permission from the local council, and we’ve built a successful record securing planning permission for our clients thanks to the successful projects completed across London.

Taking on any kind of renovation project, regardless of the size, can be quite a daunting prospect due to the amount of time and money investment it takes. However, it can be extremely rewarding and in this article, we’ve put together some tips that will help you lead a successful renovation project.

1. Before you start, get a building report. Always commission a building report to get a general idea of how the property is doing.

2. Save money on surveys. Ask your lender whether there’s a surveyor that is on their panel for valuation reports to save money.

3. Prepare a letter to the owner of the house. Obtaining a property for renovation is competitive and a letter to the owner explaining why you’re a better choice can be a great help.

4. Create and stick to a schedule. A schedule will keep you organised so that there’s less chance of overlapping contractors.

5. Check for existing utilities. Radiators, electronics, water and gas are a huge concern and should be kept in mind when renovating because it could greatly impact the cost of the renovation.

6. Be aware of subsidence. Subsidence is the bane of many renovation projects, but it is possible to work with it as long as you check with the seller and their insurers.

7. Examine structural damage. Whether it’s cracks in the walls, damp or rotting timber, make sure you check for structural damage before doing anything.

8. Identify if the property is habitable. If the property isn’t habitable then you may have difficulties getting a mortgage.

9. Keep ground floor bathrooms. It’s far too expensive to replace a ground floor bathroom and it also means you give up a bedroom, so keep them in place and just refurbish them.

10. Examine the exterior. Check the roof, backyard and other exterior areas to see what needs replacing or fixing.

11. Ensure measurements are accurate. Utilise a measured survey to ensure your plans are accurate.

12. If you’re buying at auction, prepare to compete with others. Auctions are cutthroat and you need to be fully aware of the competition involved in renovation projects.

13. Plan somewhere to live. Make sure you have a place to stay during your renovation project.

14. Don’t overestimate your ability or patience. Renovations can take a long time and require a lot of patience so keep a cool head at all times and understand that things like delays and dust are inevitable.

15. Understand the financial implications of a renovation. There are many financial implications during a renovation project so keep things like VAT and insurance in mind.

16. Keep windows intact. Windows are too expensive to replace and should be repaired when possible.

17. Invest in a structural engineer. If your renovation involves many structural changes then a structural engineer is vital.

18. Consider a warranty. Warranties aren’t always essential but will cover the home against design flaws and poor build quality before you invest in it.

19. Keep an eye on hidden costs. Be it reconnecting utilities, cleaning a septic tank or valuation fees, make sure you keep hidden costs in mind.

20. Do you need planning permission? Make sure you check if your project actually needs planning permission or not.

Conservation Architects London
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    Conservation Architects London

    Conservation Architects London
    About Robert

    Originally from Pennsylvania, Robert studied architecture in Ohio, New York City and Florence, Italy. He moved to London in 2003, working with John Simpson & Partners, Liam O’Connor Architects and Planning Consultants, and Lees Associates Architecture and Design. He left Lees Associates in late 2009 to start what eventually became RRA+I.

    Robert trained in the Bauhaus tradition, and as an urbanist in the lineage of Colin Rowe. He also trained in and practiced contemporary classicism, learning the leaders of that movement. He secretly holds onto more of their tenets than he’d care to admit, putting that knowledge, reverence and earnestness to good use – working primarily in sensitive contexts and with listed buildings.

    Robert believes that ornament is not crime. He also believes that less is more. He is, at his core, a rationalist, a conservationist and a classicist. Robert is a leader within The American Institute of Architects, serving both in the UK and internationally.

    Our curiosity was unbounded, we wanted to know everything about everything. How did anything we focused on become what it was? Process. We would think, talk, and draw for hours on end. We still do.
    – Michael Rotondi, founding partner of Morphosis and RoTo Architects

    …the unreasoned joy of the simple correspondence of appearance and reality… the evident rightness of things as they are, seen clearly. 
    – Michael Benedikt, author of For an Architecture of Reality.

    Conservation Architects London
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    Conservation Architects London
    City Heritage

    As a city with a rich historical heritage, it should hardly come as a surprise that the City of London is dotted with more than 27 conservation area. The city founded more than 2000 years ago, has seen native, Roman, Norman, medieval, industrial and modern influence, creating a diverse architectural landscape which offers a window into the nation’s past.

    Here we’re going to take a look at some of the most famous conservation areas in London and why they’ve been afforded that status.



    The Guildhall area of London was once the centre of commerce for the city, not just in medieval times, but during the Roman era as well. The Guildhall area is a historical network of streets used from Saxon times, built on top of an old Roman amphitheatre, the remains of which now sit a few feet underground.

    The Guildhall is famous for its high-quality commercial buildings, including the Great Hall. But visitors can also view one of the largest medieval crypts in London on the site.


    Chancery Lane

    Chancery Lane is perhaps most famous for the fact that it contains two buildings which managed to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666: The Staple Inn and Barnard’s Inn. The area features traditional Renaissance-era buildings, as well as more recent Victorian additions, and sits on land which has been in constant use since the 12th century.

    Chancery Lane remains a vital location from a government history perspective. It was here that much of the legal administration of the city was conducted during the centuries running up to the Great Fire and beyond.


    Finsbury Circus

    Finsbury Circus became a conservation area in July 2015. It was granted conservation status on several grounds. First, the area is an example of “unplanned” City of London development. The city sprawled in the direction of Finsbury Circus in the middle of the nineteenth century and today plays host to some attractive buildings from the Victorian era. Second, the Circus centres on a secluded garden space which provides a natural stop off for tourists and busy workers going out for their lunch.



    Smithfield became a conservation area back in 2012.

    The area has a history more than 2,000 years long and a street layout which dates back more than 1,000.

    Smithfield managed to avoid the worst of the German raids during the second world war and the ravages of the Great Fire in the seventeenth century. It is an example of genuinely organic London (what the city would have looked like it if it had not suffered major calamities).

    Conservationists granted the area special status primarily because of the contrast between the small-scale precincts of the medieval period and the later Georgian and post-industrial developments of the modern era.



    Bishopsgate became a conservation area in September 2014. Although Bishopsgate is typically thought of as being in the heart of the city, it lay outside the city walls during the fire of London and was at one point just a suburb. Bishopsgate provides an example of Georgian town planning and Victorian railway building.