AUSSIE expats have the chance to explore some of London’s most interesting and exclusive venues, homes and architecture during the annual Open House London weekend in late September.
Organised by architecture education organization Open-City, more than 800 buildings of all kinds will open their doors to the public for free on 21 and 22 September.
The event’s theme this year is ‘Celebrating architecture, people and place’, and explores issues that are relevant to local communities and how the built environment is evolving.
Among the types of buildings you can check out are more than 100 private homes, architect’s homes and housing developments, 50 landscape-focused projects at the Landscape Institute and various eco, zero carbon and retro-fit buildings.
Engineering buffs can speak to representatives from the Institution of Civil Engineers on a series of walks and construction/engineering site visits, while those keen to learn more about the transformation of East London can attend a series of expert-led events focusing on the regeneration of areas surrounding the Olympic Park.
Alongside all of this are kids and family activities, competitions, and a series of special treks and trails, including Maggie’s Culture Crawl on Friday, 20 September — the eve of the weekend’s festivities. The ‘crawl’ is a moonlit walk throughout London with the opportunity to be the first to see the Open House architecture before the public, and raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Centres.
Finally, a handful of the city’s most iconic buildings are also opening their doors — but you have to register in a ballot to get inside. These buildings include British Prime Minister David Cameron’s residence 10 Downing St, the view from the Shard, EDF Energy London Eye and Grays Inn.
Founding Director of Open-City Victoria Thornton said this year’s program offered a diverse range of activities that will appeal to enthusiasts of all ages.
“In 2012 87% of participants said the Open House annual event was the best way see, explore and learn about the capital’s architecture,” she said.
“This year we’re putting together a great programme of open buildings, walks, tours and talks taking in everything from award-winning contemporary homes to major regeneration areas.”
For the full program of listings, head to Openhouselondon.org. Entries for the ballot to 10 Dowling St, The View from The Shard, EDF Energy London Eye and Grays Inn close on Friday 13 September