The weekend of 19th/20th September is one of the highlights of my year in terms of architecture and design. The excellent people at Open House continue the work established by Victoria Thornton 17 years ago, which is best explained in her words:
“It is a simple but powerful concept: in celebration of design excellence, 700 buildings of every conceivable type, shape and size will open their doors to Londoners completely for free. For one weekend in the year, Londoners come together exploring all corners of the Capital, inspired by the power of architecture to transform the quality of our lives.”
I’ve been enjoying this for 12 years and it’s a great opportunity to visit a wonderfulselection of buildings, of all kinds and of many types. In those earlier years I visited lots of media and related hq projects, usually focusing on offices. More recently I’ve broadened my interest and now particularly enjoy looking around private houses.
I really admire these people who are so proud of their house, and so knowledgeable of the architect who designed it, that they will open up their home to, in some cases dozens, and sometimes hundreds of visitors.
You can send off for the printed booklet which lists details of every single property, opening times and local transport links. Or you can search online at http://www.openhouse.org.uk/public/london/event.html
There are over 700 properties open, located in all 33 of the London Boroughs.
For those of you living outside London, there is a similar opportunity: four days when buildings not normally open to the public will welcome you - 10th -13th September. This is operated under the auspices of English Heritage and full details are here. http://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/
Go on, do it - you'll really enjoy it.