Open House London is the name of an organisation which promotes the architecture in London. It organises, since 1992, Open House Weekend, an event on one weekend each September throughout London. It is a London version of the European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes du Patrimoine), a European event that started as Journées Portes ouvertes des monuments historiques (Historic Monument Open Door Days) in France in 1983.
During this weekend many buildings considered to be of architectural significance open their doors for free public tours.
The Open House event in London is usually held on the third weekend in September. Important buildings, not usually open to the public, like Marlborough House, Lancaster House, the Mansion House, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Horse Guards, are open on Open House weekend.
The event attracts tens of thousands of people. The visitors are able to turn up and go straight into some establishments, although queues are an hour or two long at the most popular buildings, while in other cases admission is by advance booking of a guided tour only.
A highly anticipated fixture in the capital’s cultural calendar, Open House London is a truly city-wide celebration of the buildings, places and spaces where we live and work.
This year Open House London welcome stunning new additions from across the capital including stylish sustainable designs such as Nick Baker’s eco-home – 25C Montpelier Road – built using timber framing and passive solar design techniques and Ott’s Yard – a repurposed ramshackle group of sheds reimagined with a healthy dose of creative greening by the award winning vPPR Architects.
Open House also welcomes imaginative conversions Dingle Price’s stylish House for a Painter, a conversion of a 20th century workhouse laundry building into a studio and residence for an artist and his family. Finally, Daykin Marshall’s modern two-story shopfront conversion on Gray’s inn road handles the demands of a traditional sho facing façade with apartment living.
Open House will be a unique opportunity to see, explore and learn about amazing architecture and design in your area and across London over one weekend. More than 800 buildings of all kinds will open their doors across London, alongside a programme of neighbourhood walks, engineering and landscape tours, cycle rides and experts’ talks – all for free.
In addition to the many residences, highlights of the Open House programme include:
• Revealing London’s iconic skyline and towers including The View from the Shard, 30 St Mary Axe (aka the Gherkin) and Citypoint
• London’s infrastructure revealed with the Institution of Civil Engineers – including engineering walks and site visits to major construction and engineering sites
• Nearly 80 projects with Landscape at their heart with the Landscape Institute
• Eco, zero carbon and retrofit buildings, with the chance to talk to experts, see measures in action and discover how you can implement changes in your own home
• Speak with planners, architects and engineers on how they create successful buildings and cities
• For the second time in 2014, Open Debate will be presented for the and will be held at the Institute of Civil Engineers. The inaugural Green Debate will also be held at London’s Saw Swee Hock Building
• Maggie’s and Open House London ‘Culture Crawl’ on Friday 19th September – a moonlit walk through London with the opportunity to see Open House architecture and raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Centres
• Activities for kids and families, from architectural model-making to quiz trails as part of Open House Junior
• Explore the rich heritage of the river at countless riverside sites in 2014 as we team up with Totally Thames
• Archibus tour with Arriva and the London Transport Museum – win a place on an architectural whirlwind tour celebrating the Year of the Bus
• Photography competition in partnership with Airbnb, Architects’ Journal and The Photographers’ Gallery
- St Pancras International, Camden (c) HS1, Source: Open House London
- Cutty Sark, Greenwich (c) National Maritime Museum, Source: Open House London