Quay House, London

Open House London 2014: 800 Buildings For You To Explore

Quay House, London
Quay House, as seen on BBC4 & Channel 5’s I Own Britain’s Best Home (photo credit Anthony Coleman).

Open House is back this month, giving you the opportunity to delve inside hundreds of London’s amazing buildings not normally open to the public.

established back in 1992, the initiave has grown signifcantly and promotes public awareness and appreciation of London’s design and architecture. Once again the weekend of 20th and 21st September will aim to help the wider community to become more knowledgeable, engage in dialogue and make informed judgements on architecture.

Open House London is again shedding light on the latest contemporary architecture shaping the city today, from the newest completed city building – The Leadenhall Building, designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners for co-developers and owners British Land and Oxford Properties and already affectionately known as ‘The Cheesegrater’, due to its distinctive slanting shape designed to protect views of St Paul’s Cathedral from Fleet Street to Kew House, a striking transformation of a 19th century brick stables into a corten steel façade set within a conservation area.

30 St Mary Axe
30 St Mary Axe, aka the ‘Gherkin’ will be open for you to explore and is a favourite.

Through this year’s theme of ‘revealing’ people will also find out more and the impact of buildings on their lives, from the design of homes to new public spaces and the role of architects and contemporary design in revitalising places and spaces, showing how good design can make London a more liveable city.

Open House London’s selection of buildings for all to visit this year is therefore more comprehensive than ever before providing a great 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.

More about this year’s theme and what you can see

As part of the ‘Revealing’ theme, a particular focus for 2014 will be fixed on…

Spaces to Live in: Can we design homes, or do we design houses which become homes through occupation? Examples include The Cedars (Span House), Villa Caroisla, House For A Painter.

How the City works: Can London’s transport networks, housing and infrastructure cope with the forecasted ten million Londoners? Collaboration with Institution of Civil Engineers including engineering walks and site visits to major construction and engineering sites such as Closed Loop Recycling Lee Tunnel & Beckton Sludge Power Generator, Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.

Places and spaces of the city: What does a sustainable city look like? Nearly 80 projects with Landscape at their heart with the Landscape Institute including Grenville Gardens Community Allotment Gardens, Priory Green, Walthamstow Wetlands.

A Greener City: How do we make the landscape of the city as precious as the rural landscape? 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 including 40a Dawlish Avenue, Bateman Mews.

Forty Hall
Forty Hall & Estate is a 17th century hall in its own estate and gardens, and it’ll be open for people wandering Enfield for Open House 2014.

Plus collaborations, competitions and ballots…

‘Meeting the Experts’: architects, engineers and landscape architects on how they create successful buildings and cities.

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.

Open House Junior: activities for kids and families from architectural model making to quiz trails as part of Archibus tour with Arriva and the London Transport Museum – win a place on an architectural whirlwind tour celebrating the Year of the Bus.

Competitions: Leadenhall Building, View from the Shard, Photographic Competition.

And finally not forgetting the great ‘dames’ of Open House London – 30 St Mary Axe (aka The Gherkin), Foreign and India Office, Bank of England, Portcullis House, City Hall each of which attracts over 5,000 visits to each.

Full details of buildings and events are published in the 2014 Guide. Head to openhouselondon.org.uk for more.

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