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London Open House weekend … start planning your trip now

August 17, 2011

Next month sees the return of the annual event in London where the doors of many, usually closed, buildings are thrown open to the public.  This is always a highlight of the design year for anyone with an interest in architecture, design – or just nosey!

This year there will be over 700 buildings opening their doors and it is all free.  The list of buildings ranges from historic landmarks, major regeneration projects, and government buildings through to residential homes.  Well known buildings open this year include Tower 42, St Pancras, Trellick Tower and the Beefeater Distillery.

Due to the restricted space in some of the buildings you need to pre book and as this opened last Monday many of the more popular buildings are unfortunately fully booked.  There are however still hundreds to visit where no prebooking is required or there are places available to book – I’ve listed below a selection of my favourite buildings open during the weekend that you can still plan to visit.

22 Mount Pleasant, W5

KsKA Architects designed a large contemporary style kitchen extension which was an addition to a house that was undergoing an ‘eco friendly’ refurbishment at the same time. The project was completed in 2010.  This property will be open on Sat between 10am – 5pm and you can book a tour time here.

Ed’s Shed/Sunken House, N1

Ed Reeve, an architectural photographer, has created a home clad in a cedar rainscreen, stained black with only a single slot window on the front elevation giving a hint that it is a house.  The entire site was excavated down to basement level to provide additional living space on a limited size site, a solid timber frame house was then built that also signficantly reduced the carbon footprint.  The house will be open both days with no pre booking required.

Peckham House, SE15

Seen on Grand Designs and voted as one of the favourite six homes ever featured on the programme this house features an opening roof and a sliding bath!  The home was built to a very tight budget on what had been deemed an ‘unusable’ brownfield site.  It is open on Sunday with the architect on site for discussion.

Transformation of Exhibition Road, SW7

Since 2010 the streetscape of Exhibition Road has been improved in preparation for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.  The aim is to reduce the traffic congestion and improve the pedestation space available for visitors and residents.  The walk will tour the local area and also discuss the architecture of the local museums, both the historical Victorian masterpieces and more recent additions.  The tour is on Saturday at 10am and you can book your place here.

BT Tower, W1

If you fancy a try in a lottery this is the building for you.  This is only the second year the tower has been included in Open House and they run a ballot to allocate tickets to visit the famous revolving restaurant on the 34th Floor.  You can enter the ballot here, applications close on 12 September.

This is just a small selection of the buildings open during the weekend.  Click here to search the entire programme – this year there is also an excellent iPhone application available.

If you would like to raise money for charity during Open House you can join the annual hike for Maggies to support their work in providing cancer care.  Last year over 2,000 people took part in the late night walk and gained a unique view of buildings including Channel 4, City Hall and RIBA at night.

Whatever building you choose to visit you will gain a unique viewing of buildings that are usually closed to the public – make your choice and start planning now.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2011 10:42 am

    If you check out the exciting developments regarding the transformation of Exhibition Road, make sure you visit TheLuxPod, two streets away in Gloucester Road. Competition for best video and image. Judith

    • August 18, 2011 11:10 am

      I wanted to visit TheLuxPod during OpenHouse weekend but you are fully booked already 😦

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