Posted on September 21, 2019 at 09:47 PM
Every year the organisation Open House London organises the world's largest architecture festival, giving free public access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours over one weekend in September.
The festival is really popular with over a quarter of a million people taking part, visiting over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours across London.
I've attended this a few times over the years. I've seen some amazing gems, some obvious, some tucked away with interesting staircases on the way to some amazing rooms. I've learned a lot about the buildings I've visited and also met some interesting people too. This weekend is particularly appealing to anyone interested in photography. When else do you get a chance to look inside the rich history and culture within an 'unlocked' and open London?
The only down side is that some of the really popular places like Downing Street, the Foreign Office and The Bank of England are balloted for tickets months in advance. Some venues also don't allow photography or have very restricted opening times. I didn't let any of that put me off though because there is so much possibility at so many venues, all within just a 15 hour window, over one weekend of the year.
My hit list this year included The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), The LSE (Centre Building) designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners which has just opened, Freemason's Hall, King's College (Strand Campus) Maughan Library, Tower 42 and The Crystal Palace subway (a fantastic remnant of Victorian history and culture). The LSE building and The LSHTM were particularly interesting because of the well planned and detailed guided tour. It makes no difference to me if a building is old or new, the story (storey!) and the details are what I'm interested in.
I wish this event took place bi-annualy but then I suppose that is just greedy ;-) Until next year...