Discover the world’s largest showcase of architecture and design this weekend, 17th & 18th September, at Open House London. This year’s event, the 24th Open House London, will give free entry to 750 of the city’s best buildings, 140 of which are new to the annual programme.
Anish Kapoor’s Orbit Tower is one of the new entries, alongside other highlights such as the house Cheesegrater architect Richard Rogers designed for his parents in Wimbledon and Here East, the new technology hub and business campus in Hackney Wick. Iconic favourites such as favourites The Gherkin, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (look out for Palmerston the cat who even has his own twitter account), tours of the Crossrail tunnels, as well as the Shard, the Cheesegrater, Portcullis House and 10 Downing Street, are all once again among the buildings visitors can enter for free.
“From a Battle of Britain Bunker to the Argentine Ambassador’s residence, Open House weekend gives Londoners the chance to explore the city’s great building and places that are usually off-limits,” says Open House director Rory Olcayto. “Whether it’s super-contemporary private homes, iconic skyscrapers or hidden gems like the Crystal Palace subway, very little is off-limits during two days.”
Open House London will be launched by deputy mayor Jules Pipe and renowned architect Sir Richard Rogers in the offices of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners today (15th September), two days ahead of the weekend festival. “We’re delighted Lord Rogers is hosting the Open House launch in his studio on the 14th floor of the Cheesegrater. Richard has long supported the democratic ethos behind Open House which aims to open up London to everyone, regardless of wealth or status. An open city, where citizens are free to roam where they like, is the ultimate goal. It’s worth remembering that the freedoms we enjoy today, like strolling through Hyde Park – once off limits to masses – had to be fought for.”
The weekend is also a pure expression of the Mayor’s new campaign, #LondonIsOpen, which is an official partner of Open House London this year. In essence, Open House is a celebration of London’s great spirit of curiosity and Londoners’ desire to work and live together.
The LuxPad’s Highlights:
London desperately needs affordable, well-built, homes. These projects, from self-build to zero-carbon to tough, inner city brick-built blocks, show how it can be done.
Courtyard Housing – Barking and Dagenham
Walter Segal self-build houses – Lewisham
Bedzed – Sutton
These places of worship show the diversity London is famous for, and the stunning architecture each culture brings to Europe’s cultural capital.
Baps Shri Swaminarayan Madir – Brent
Lumen United Reformed Church and café – Camden
Zoroastrian Centre for Europe – Harrow
The workplace is changing – hot desking, flexible hours, cycle-to-work schemes and co-working are defining the contemporary office. These projects show London is at the forefront of the fast-moving sector.
Zig Zag building – Westminster
Second Home – Tower Hamlets
Airbnb HQ – Islington
One of the greatest pleasures of the Open House weekend is the sheer range of buildings you can visit. There are just some of the most obscure ones that should be on your list:
Argentine ambassador’s residence – Westminster
Tin House – Hammersmith and Fulham
Priory yurt – Haringey
London has lead the way in commissioning architects to design so-called ‘icons.’ These shapely wonders are among the most prominent, and controversial, in the city.
Gherkin – City of London
Orbit – Newham
Peckham Library – Southwark
Full details of buildings and events have been published in the 2016 Guide, website listings and Open House app.
Open House is a concept that was created in London 20 years ago by Open-City, London’s leading independent architecture education organisation. Inviting everyone to experience, explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment, this successful concept has been extended to events in other cities around the world including New York, Dublin & Galway, Tel Aviv & Jerusalem, Barcelona, Rome, Helsinki, Slovenia and Chicago.