OK, it’s that time of year again as a green booklet flops into homes across the Capital informing us which delights will be available during the annual Open House Weekend.
The vast majority of venues are just turn up and go in, but some need pre-booking in advance.
After last year’s booking website debacle, rather than returning to the previous fairly acceptable booking system, they seem to have left it up to the venues to decide how they want you to place your reservations.
The majority are by email or phone call, which can be a pain as you can try to make bookings, but not be sure what if anything you got until you get a reply, or the phone is picked up.
More sensibly, a few have opted to use the eventbrite website to handle their bookings.
Those of us who bought the annual guide will be spending the evening flipping through it and preparing our list of phone numbers to dial and emails to send tomorrow morning.
The rest of you will have to wait until the website goes live sometime tomorrow.
However, as is now almost a tradition for this blog, here is the list of venues that need prebooking, so you can at least know what to look out for when the search page on the Open House website is switched on.
Update – have added the weblinks to each of the venues now that their website is live.
Barking and Dagenham
State of the art plastic bottle recycling facility, 35,000 tonnes of waste plastic bottles are recycled per year into food-grade plastic used to manufacture new food and beverage packing. Many green design features with a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating.
An extended PFI school and community facility in the heart of the borough. Design encourages imaginative teaching methods. State of the art facilities have been developed in line with new pedagogy focusing on importance of communication.
Restoration of a 5-storey Victorian Malthouse and Granary on the River Roding with contemporary bronze clad extension, featuring low-tech approach to viable sustainability. Malthouse now an arts/creative centre.
Original theatre recently modernised with striking but sympathetic new double-height foyer space, preserving the original facade which now forms part of interior.
The Phoenix is one of the oldest cinemas in the country with 1910 barrel-vaulted ceiling and Art Deco wall reliefs by Mollo and Egan. Grade II listed.
Grade I listed early Tudor three-sided mansion built for a Lord Mayor of London c1540 with later (c1650) extensions. Fine Great Hall with minstrel’s gallery and Tudor kitchen. Set in formal gardens on the banks of the River Cray with splendid 18C gates.
Fine Palladian villa built for Sir John Boyd, a rich City merchant as a suburban villa or weekend retreat, in Oxford stone with just four rooms on the principal floor surrounding a central elliptical staircase in a top-lit well with eight Ionic columns below a dome.
Underground 1940s bunker used during WWII by Winston Churchill and the Cabinet. Purpose-built of reinforced concrete, totally bomb-proof subterranean war citadel 40ft below ground, with Map Room, Cabinet Room and offices, housed within a sub-basement protected by a 5ft thick concrete roof.
75% of us don’t want to live in a new home. Solidspace is out to change that by building homes that delight, inspire and engage. Zog House is their prototype of 21C living. Shortlisted RIBA Awards 2010, winner Best London Property 2011, Property Awards. Many sustainable features.
Important new project that will transform the way the British Museum displays and looks after its collection. Construction began on the building in Spring 2010 and is due to be completed in late 2013.
Designed for the Theosophical Society and acquired by the BMA in 1923. Extended by Wontner Smith (1928/9) and Douglas Wood (1938/50 and 1959/60).
Government Art Collection (I’ve been there)
Guided tour of premises and behind-the-scenes look at how this major collection of British art operates. The viewing area will be hung with works reflecting this year’s theme ‘Celebrating Architecture, People and Place’.
Theatres, public bar and first class teaching facilities with large glass curving bay and terracotta grid of cleverly disguised flytower, and shaft of daylight from roof through glass floor to workshops in basement. RIBA Award Winner.
The practice’s own studio – former workshop/brewery and possibly Nell Gwynne’s house – now converted and stripped back to reveal the original timber, iron and steel structure. A rare example of an early industrial building.
Victorian house retrofitted to save 70% carbon, features internal and external insulation, high performance double glazing, integral draught stripping, LED low energy lights. New for 2013: low energy appliances.
Constructed as the first YWCA it was one of the finest club buildings in the world. Converted to a hotel in 1998 it remains one of the finest examples of Lutyens’ work.
City of London
An exploration of the Barbican via the Highwalks, the history of the site, the original design and the ideas that inspired it. RIBA Award Winner 2007.
This Lutyens Grade II listed building has been comprehensively redeveloped to provide a high quality contemporary interior, with a fully glazed spectacular atrium roof to maximize daylight and aspect.
Fishmongers’ Hall is a rare example of a Greek Revival town building featuring an arcaded granite base and a riverside terrace. Designed by the architect Henry Roberts (1831-5), a student of Sir Robert Smirke, the Hall’s classical simplicity is contrasted by the magnificence of its interior rooms.
Residence of the City of London’s Lord Mayor, retaining its 18C character, with superb plasterwork and wood carving.
Sculpture in the City is an urban sculpture park of 10 contemporary art installations by leading international artists set within the iconic towers of the City of London.
Only remaining Georgian Hall in the City of London, and perfect example of domestic architecture of the period.
One of the few surviving examples of a major early post-war concert hall and arts centre in the country and is reputed for its excellent acoustics. Built in a style similar to the Royal Festival Hall, it houses a 1794 seat concert hall and 763 seat theatre.
75% of us don’t want to live in a new home. Solidspace is out to change that by buildings homes that delight, inspire and engage and Essex Mews is the latest iteration of their typology – offering their solution to 21C living. Winner Blue Ribbon Award 2013, shortlisted RIBA Awards 2013.
Tudor almshouses dating from 1596 and founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift. Chapel and Courtyard with original 16C clock.
The landscape architect of the planned restoration of the park gives an insight into the future transformation of the heritage landscape which hosts over 20 listed features including an orangery, walled garden, bathhouse and the remnants of a horseshoe pond.
‘An eco-refurbishment project which crammed in just about every energy- and water-saving device known to man whilst highlighting the importance of retrofitting existing buildings.’ Alistair McGowan.
As physical works start in Walpole park to reinstate Sir John Soane’s Regency landscape, the setting for his Pitzhanger Manor, this is an opportunity to hear about what is planned and how the site is progressing.
The hospice offers specialist palliative care for people with life limiting illnesses. By using brick, timber floors, slim window profiles and mute colours, it is designed to feel airy and instil a domestic sense of wellbeing. Sustainable features include ground source heat pump and solar collection. Civic Trust 2012 Special Award for Sustainability. RIBA National Award 2013.
Tour exploring the civil engineering achievements of the construction of the cable car and the regeneration of the Royal Docks. Led by the Emirates Air Line project director and ICE regeneration and sustainability expert. Organised by ICE.
The world’s last surviving tea clipper and only vessel to be a Grade I listed building. Now lifted 3 metres, visitors have the unique experience of walking under a three-masted ship, protected from the elements by an enveloping glass canopy. RIBA Awards Winner 2013.
Magnificent Baroque church, Grade I listed, gutted by fire in 1941 and restored by Sir Albert Richardson to original design. Many original features. Burial site of Thomas Tallis, organist/choirmaster (1505-85).
Four bedroom Victorian terraced house, refurbished and extended as a contemporary sculptural form. Interiors are expressed as a series of fluid surfaces and flowing spaces that weave throughout the home towards the rear garden.
Walk down the River Lea from Hackney Wick to Three Mills, via the Olympic Park and Abbey Mills exploring one of London’s least known but perhaps most significant locations-to-be, with Ralph Ward, east London regeneration expert and visiting professor at UEL, and Michael Owens, former Chief Exec of the Leaside Regeneration Partnership and founder of London Urban Visits.
A unique double-height extension that breathes new life and provides much needed space to an existing shop and workshop by local designer maker Barley Massey. Recycled and reclaimed materials throughout and green roof, reflect the ethos behind Barley’s work.
Exuberant Grade II* listed auditorium and the most perfect example of Edwardian variety theatre remaining in London. Refurbishment restored the interiors added to the fly-tower and provided new back-stage areas, topping it off with the sign ‘Hackney Empire’ in massive terracotta 6.4m tall capital letters.
Walking tour of landscape design retracing the historic route used to drive cattle into London’s markets. Includes seed bombing, limited edition map and other surprises.
New build development of artist and photographic studios within a mews streetscape. The design, developed in close collaboration with the artist Jasmina Cibic, enhances the industrial aesthetic of the mews through its form and use of patterned Corten steel panels.
Hammersmith and Fulham
Former residence of the Bishop of London. Tudor courtyard with Georgian additions and Butterfield chapel (1867). Reopened after Lottery funded restoration in 2006 with rooms around east courtyard restored and returned to late Georgian colour scheme.
Designed in the English Renaissance style by the second most prolific architect of public libraries prior to WW1. Funded by John Passmore Edwards. Recently redesigned to create beautiful contemporary theatre space.
Grade I listed Modernist apartment blocks retaining many original features. (warning – no photography).
The first Gidea Park Garden Suburb houses were built as a result of an open competition in 1910 for architects. Many of the houses were in Tudor styles, roughcast, colour-washed, or sometimes half-timbered. Further developments took place up until the mid-1930s. Tour takes in Gidea Park exhibition houses and Hare Street buildings.
Opened by Sir Peter Hall, a robust example of 1970s civic architecture and a vibrant and successful producing theatre.
Rainham Village, a conservation area, is the site of an important new masterplan for London. The regeneration programme is enhancing the characteristics of the historic street pattern and the surrounding marshland with nature reserve incorporating Trackway.
One of Europe’s most successful business parks with Masterplan by Arup Associates and stunning architecture by Foster Partners, Ian Ritchie, Troughton MacAslan, Eric Parry and others. The landscape design plays a vital role in establishing the framework with over 140,000 trees.
21m-high brick water tower, built 1905 in institutional Gothic style to improve the water supply to expanding Uxbridge following the arrival of the Metropolitan Railway. Residentially converted 1980. Access (by internal fixed safety ladder) to tank and roof for views over London Basin, weather permitting.
None of their venues need pre-booking
Penthouse apartment over 2 floors of converted and extended former print works with large open-plan living/dining/cooking space featuring helical stair within top-lit polished plaster drum. Winner ‘Best Apartment’ Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2013.
Formerly the boardroom of the 17C water house the Oak Room is a fine late Renaissance room demonstrating the New River Company’s wealth. Fine 1697 carved oak interior, attributed to Grinling Gibbons, the overmantel and panels over the doors and shelving portray water-plants and animals, fish and anglers’ tackle.
Conceived as a series of jewelled boxes carefully inserted into the existing fabric, the design opens up and revitalises what was a series of dark disjointed spaces. Sustainable features include Scottish Larch, green roofs, super insulation and rainwater storage.
Kensington and Chelsea
London’s finest Grade I listed Victorian cemetery of 40 acres with many memorials, designed by architect who had previously worked on rebuilding of Windsor Castle.
Founded in 1682, the hospital buildings are one of England’s architectural glories and sit in 66 acres of beautiful gardens.
Interior refurbishment incorporates vermilion-painted wall by artist Antoni Malinowski. Old panelling has been removed to expose Victorian ironwork and brickwork in a radical mix of old and new. RIBA Award Winner.
Waterhouse’s original building is a monument to German Romanesque architecture, completely faced in terracotta tiles and adorned with animal castings. The Rare Books Room has original sketches and architectural plans. A cathedral of nature.
Introducing the rich and varied architecture of the V&A Museum, allowing access to some areas usually closed to the public. V&A and RIBA Architecture Gallery, ongoing restoration of historic interiors, and the latest gallery projects including furniture gallery by NORD Architecture.
Multi-storey, glass-enclosed cylinder, illuminated by coloured lighting at night, with most sophisticated motion-picture projection system in the world.
Archbishop of Canterbury’s London home, dating from 13C; 19C work by Blore, and crypt vestibule opened 2000.
Insight into the design development process of the gardens amidst a series of site constraints, community engagement and innovative set-up for longer term sustainability of the Gardens through creation of an independent Trust.
A ?22m split site secondary school. A beautiful learning environment combines outdoor landscaping with additional learning spaces.
Formerly Capitol Cinema, Grade II listed rare survival of a complete 1920’s cinema in Art Deco style, later a bingo hall and now a Wetherspoon pub.
A landmark building – Charles Harrison Townsend’s original arts and crafts building (1901) and his ideas on the arts and crafts aesthetic. Sun behind the scenes tours at 2pm & 4pm, pre-book only.
Purpose-built mosque (2003) and the largest in Europe, with 15m diameter dome and minarets 36m and 23m high, and accommodating 13,000 worshippers. The building is a blend of Islamic and modern British architecture and incorporates much of the structure of an old dairy site.
A varied and revealing walk in the Lower Lea Valley, with Oliver Froome-Lewis and Chloe Street around the southern edges of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; through Stratford, Bromley by Bow, Fish Island and Hackney Wick, arriving at the Timber Lodge and Tumbling Bay Playground in the North of the Park.
Walk down the River Lea from Three Mills, to Emirates cable car terminal, Royal Docks, via Cody Dock, East India Basin and Trinity Buoy Wharf exploring one of London’s least known but perhaps most significant locations-to-be,
Guided run with Personal Trainer Ade Aboaba and Planner/Urbanist Michael Owens (former Chief Exec of Leaside Regeneration Partnership). Explore the impact of London 2012 on regeneration in surrounding boroughs
Formerly the Olympic Village during the 2012 Games time, East Village is a brand new neighbourhood for London with new homes, communal gardens, public squares, tree-lined streets, waterways and wetlands.
Thames Water’s novel, compact pumping station housed in a high-quality landmark building. The Grade II old pumping station (Sir Joseph Bazalgette, 1860s) may also be viewed from outside. RIBA Award Winner.
One of the first buildings to be completed for the jubilee Line Extension., Stratford Market Depot opened in 1996 to provide train maintenance and stabling facilities alongside extensive office and ancillary buildings.
The largest community wastewater recycling facility in the UK using membrane technology to convert raw sewage to non potable water to supply Olympic Park venues.
A unique trip along the east London waterways to see the unfolding of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, before its opening in Spring 2014. From Three Mills to the southern entrance of the Park, taking in the sights of the Stadium and the ArcelorMittal Orbit.
Set to be one of the most innovative play spaces in London, the highly naturalistic yet playful design aims to complement and tell the story of the wider riverine landscape of the Park.
None of their venues need pre-booking
A typical Matcham design, this beautiful 840 seat theatre was exhaustively researched and then restored in 1989 to a fabulous crimson, cream and gold. All original mouldings restored and renewed.
Grotto with mineral decoration is last remaining part of Alexander Pope’s villa built 1720, demolished 1808 and replaced and redeveloped many times in following years.
Open-plan loft apartment within a converted warehouse with washing/dressing/utility spaces concealed within a ‘floating’ white acrylic solid surface-clad block.
Cycle tour with a local guide from artouride around SE16 landmarks including the new Canada Water library, Greenland dock floating community, Thames river path.
Magnificent subway built by Italian craftsmen resembling a vaulted crypt. Part of the Crystal Palace High Level Railway system demolished in 1961.
The largest public park in Southwark playing a valuable role as a ‘green lung’ in a densely populated area. One of the Mayor of London’s Priority Parks, jointly funded by the Mayor of London and Creation Trust.
None of their venues need pre-booking
High-rise office development with 2 towers of 18 and 42 storeys, linked on first 14 floors. CGC1 comprised of 3 components – to the west is the main office space, to the east is a service core linked by full height atrium with hanging Bridget Riley sculpture. CGC2 is multi use office space.
Completing LBTH’s Building Schools for the Future programme, the new school will provide great facilities for 1600 pupils, in 3 blocks around a landscaped playground facing the Limehouse cut.
Linking RB Greenwich and LB Tower Hamlets, the Northbound tunnel was built in 1897, was refurbished in 2010-11 and carries 55,000 vehicles each day.
An ambitious programme to enhance and celebrate the ribbon of London life that connects the City at Aldgate to the Olympic Park at Stratford. Area-based initiatives and street actions create a coherent thread that unites the intersecting high streets.
A new housing development of 67 flats for Peabody, close to the railway, under construction with Galliford Try Partnership. A 21C reinterpretation of the traditional mansion block.
Level 39 of the main Canary Wharf skyscraper is a sophisticated accelerator, social and event space, designed in ‘tech industry’ style by Gensler. Tours on the hour with talks around architectural models of marketing suite and Level 39.
Redesign of this end of terrace house draws inspiration from Japan and Finland in its use of and creation of space to provide a practical and sustainable family home that is both simple and clever.
An extraordinary new floating structure design by Duggan Morris Architects in partnership with artists and filmmakers Nina Pope and Karent Guthrie.
Vivo delivers the largest new build phase of the Levitt Bernstein designed masterplan for the 220m transformation of the Ocean Estate and has been placed at the heart of the estate.
Rare example of the glasshouse method of construction surviving from the 1850s. Grade II* listed. Extensively renovated in 2007 to restore to former Victorian glory with a dramatic 2-storey entrance structure and gallery space. Behind the scenes tours need booking.
Ornate classical building orginally a Vestry Hall for the Hamlet of Mile End Old Town. A library since 1901 it was extended in 1905 and 1935-37. Currently under refurbishment as a Tower Hamlets Heritage Centre.
Infill scheme giving a modern interpretation of the surrounding traditional terraced housing, with roof profile in the surrounding area adapted to maximise the available accommodation. Incorporates a range of renewable energy technologies to reduce running costs and lower carbon emissions. This development provides 24 homes of varying sizes for social rent.
Discover the architecture of Walthamstow with this guided walk. Leaving from Wood Street Library, a site which lies at the heart of the oldest part of Walthamstow, exploring the library itself and local buildings including Victorian schools and terraced houses to 18C mansions.
Built in the Victorian grand design, a radial pattern of wings and landings from a central point with an impressive gatehouse. Only the prison tours need to be prebooked.
A walking tour of Paddington’s architectural highlights including both historical and major new developments and landmarks by some of Britain’s most notable architects.
Headquarters of London Underground described on its 1929 opening as ‘the cathedral of modernity’. its exterior features sculptures by eminent artists of the day, including Henry Moore, Jacob Epstein and Eric Gill.
Headquarters building with curving high glass and steel entry atrium. RIBA Award Winner.
Canada House built in the Greek Revival style under the direction of Sir Robert Smirke (circa 1820s) is the focal point of Canada’s Mission in London. Significant restoration and expansion works to be completed in 2014 will continue our shared legacy for the 21st century.
Built 1908 in Neoclassical style by Detmar Blow for Hugh Morrison (1868-1931), was the last mansion house of its kind to be built in London. The club, founded in 1891, moved to the premises in 1946.
Grand and monumental building with rich carvings and spectacular decorated saloon at its heart. Conserved and refurbished to replace 2 wings and provide new glazing to atrium at junction of new and old sites. Grade II* listed.
Designed by Henry Kendall for Thomas Kemp MP, the ‘spendthrift founder of Kemp Town’. Remodelled 1853. Neo-Belgravian Wing 1991-93. Now the residence of the Ambassador of Spain.
Elegant Whitehall facade and domed entrance commissioned by the Duke of York. Interesting original interiors.
A walking tour exploring the West End’s landscape and public realm from Oxford Circus through to the NLA via Regent Street, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden.
Grade II-listed home of Coutts. The Bank acquired the lease of the Lowther Arcade, part of the West Strand improvements designed by John Nash in 1830. The rebuilding work created a bank which was to remain untouched until the 1970s. The present head office, designed by Frederick Gibberd & Partners, was opened in 1978. The design is notable for it’s pepperpot towers which have long been used to entertain clients.
Built in 1776 by Wyatt with very fine interiors by Adam. Was the London base of the Countess of Home and is probably the greatest surviving Georgian town house.
Grade II* listed HQ building of the world’s premier engineering institution, the first of its kind. Fine example of Edwardian architecture.
The new design is based on the creation of a coherent city block and includes intrinsic landscape qualities of a London square with contemporary and unique design features found nowhere else in the UK.
Extravagant private palace originally built for the Duke of York, with magnificent central hall and staircase.
Rare opportunity to see the flat where Jimi Hendrix lived between 1968 and 1969. Flat now offices with sympathetic renovation and original features.
Built as a Whig gentleman’s club and inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces. Lobby leads to an enclosed colonnaded courtyard with ‘complementary’ glazed roof and tessellated floor. Tunnelled staircase leads to upper floor.
Grade 1 Listed Stratford House, designed by Richard Edwin and built by Edward Stratford 1770-1776. Forms centrepiece of noble Robert Adam Design and home to Oriental Club founded by Major-General Sir John Malcolm and Duke of Wellington since 1962.
Part of the extension to Burlington House to provide accommodation for learned societies, the home of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1874 with recent refurbishment.
The world’s largest independent lending library housing 1 million books in atmospheric Victorian cast-iron bookstacks. Elegant reading room that has been home to generations of literary London.
Finished in 1895 for the first Viscount Astor, William Waldorf Astor, to the elaborate architectural specifications of John Loughborough Pearson and sits on reclaimed land overlooking the River Thames.
There is a ballot for entry to 10 Downing Street and Grays Inn, and for tickets to the London Eye and The View from the Shard.