It’s nearly the weekend! Have you got plans yet? Perhaps you’re feeling nosy, or need some creative inspiration? Or maybe you’re just bored and want something out-of-the-ordinary to do in London?
Open House is on this weekend only, and there are over 750 amazing properties to see, many of which are not normally open to the public. You can see architect-designed private homes, green projects, major regeneration sites, historic landmarks and iconic towers, just to name a few. This only happens once a year, and the featured buildings change each time! So get in there and have a peek around while you can!
Open House is a really interesting event, put on by Open-City, a UK “independent organisation that champions the value of well-designed places and spaces in making a liveable and vibrant city, and the role everyone plays within it.” The event aims to celebrate what’s best about London’s built environment, and showcase how good design makes cities more enjoyable to live in for everyone. In the words of the mayor, Boris Johnson, “The contrasts of London’s architecture are the genius of its beauty… Open House London celebrates this wonderful melange”.
For me, the most exciting part is being able to get into private homes that range from huge glass and steel modern mammoths to hidden away, quaint and historic restorations. I can relate to this testimonial from fashion designer Margaret Howell: “Grand, famous, small, obscure, London’s buildings open for us this weekend. What I find really exciting though is an insight into sometimes extraordinary personal spaces. One’s spirit is totally lifted by the experience.” I just love having a peep to see how people live and what amazing ideas they’ve incorporated into their homes! Read on for three must-see private residences on the Open House roster…
1. 15 1/2 Consort Road, SE15 2PH
As seen on Grand Designs, the opening roof and sliding bath typify this unique and extraordinary response to various constraints and opportunities of a tight budget on an ‘unusable’ brownfield site. Shortlisted RIBA Awards 2006. One of six voted as Nation’s favourite Grand Designs’ houses. DVD available showing how to take the dream from an idea to reality. Sustainable features include use of wasteland, recycled materials and innovative ideas.
Click here to see details and book to get in!
2. Spaniards End (off Spaniards Road) NW3 7JG
The Architect’s Journal‘s green blog Footprint has also featured this home as one of their ‘picks’!
An inspiring new 3 storey house set within a conservation area, houses an impressive collection of contemporary art and ancient ceramics. An exemplar of sustainable design. Use of natural light, textured concrete surfaces, sliding screens and timber cladding create a ‘landscape’ of elements which respond to the natural character of the site, changing weather conditions and the seasons.
Click here to get in!
3. 17a Mansfield road NW3 2JE
Radical reworking of end of terrace Benson & Forsyth maisonette. Stripped back to concrete structure, the living spaces have been moved to the upper level to open onto the roof terrace.
New build rear extension to Victorian house, entailing extensive remodelling of ground floor to create a large open plan flow-through living, dining and kitchen space. Close integration with the garden is achieved by careful design of levels and paving surfaces.
This fine Georgian house has been given a sensitive 21C facelift and extension including a multi-level, free-flowing cascade of open-plan, light-filled spaces. Reclaimed parquet and terracotta finishes sit alongside large areas of glass and stainless steel. Sustainable features include solar panel, rainwater recycling.