London’s Open House Weekend provides an annual chance to see some of the city’s finest architecture up close. There are more than 800 buildings on offer this year, helping to make Open House London the largest architectural festival in the world.
Many of the buildings featured in the event aren’t open to the public throughout the rest of the year, so Open House is the ideal opportunity to discover something new while staying with us here at The Shaftesbury Hotel. This year’s Open House London takes place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September 2019 – here’s a quick look at the most iconic buildings to see up close…
Open House London 2019
Each year of Open House London has its own theme, and 2019 is certainly no exception. This year will be focused on the ‘social’ element of living in a big city, including everything from social housing to social infrastructure and the role image plays in deciding a city’s worth. From parks to recreational spaces, Open House will include walks and architectural tours which explore each property in detail. Our resident architecture buffs at the Grand Royale London Hyde Park have compiled this quick look at some of the top properties opening to the public for this year’s event:
A derelict flower mill which was built during the early 20th century, Millennium Mills provides a glimpse of London’s industrial past.
During your stay at The Shaftesbury, a visit to the venue as part of Open House London is the ideal way to discover more about a space which was once a bustling hub of activity, but now stands empty. The mill is in the process of being renovated and redeveloped as part of a project worth £3.5bn, which will see the mill transformed from a relic of post-industrial England to a part of the city’s 21st century landscape.
The Old Bailey
The Old Bailey is a historic court in London, part of a larger complex which also includes the Crown Court. The building dates to 1902, but the roots of the Old Bailey stretch back far further, to the 16th century. With a design by Edward William Mountford, the venue is one of the most iconic structures in the city. It also serves a significant purpose as a working court, handling criminal cases from both London and in rare instances, further afield parts of both England and Wales.
The first recorded court close to the Old Bailey was built in 1585, though it was later destroyed during the Great Fire of London (1666).
The current structure’s architect developed the building where Newgate Prison once stood; during Open House London, visitors will be able to see notable Old Bailey statues such as Lady Justice, and take a closer look at one of the city’s foremost structures.
A home to the arts in London, the Barbican Centre is the largest centre of its kind anywhere in Europe, and regularly hosts an array of fantastic creative performances including everything from concerts to screenings and exhibitions.
The Barbican provides the base for both the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Symhony Orchestra, as well as the London home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
As a diverse and expansive venue, the Barbican is comprised of several different sections, buildings and elements, including a library, cinema, art gallery and theatre venue. The appearance of the Barbican itself has frequently been the subject of controversy, with it repeatedly named as one of the city’s most unattractive buildings. However, it is also a fine example of ’70s-style Brutalism, and makes a welcome addition to any itinerary while staying at the Grand Royale London Hyde Park.
R7 Kings Cross
A 10-storey office building where occupants rent out space for their business, R7 Kings Cross is close to the University of the Arts London, and was designed by Duggan-Morris. The building provides not only office space, but also features an indoor cycle spa in the basement, and a cinema at ground level.
The building provides an intriguing look at everyday working life in the city, perfect for curious guests staying at the Shaftesbury Premier London Paddington.
Golden Lane Estate
A noted 1950s housing estate, Golden Lane Estate is a fitting example of council housing which was first developed to provide affordable homes for some of London’s poorest residents. The area was built on a site which had been heavily bombed during World War II, and represented a glimmer of hope and restoration in post-war London.
The estate is notable for having focused largely on singles and couples (instead of families with children), perhaps reflecting the devastation of the era. There are many studios and one-bedroom properties throughout the complex. There have been building projects in this area since the 19th century, and the Golden Lane Estate is close to the Barbican.
A co-living space situated in West London, this complex offers much more than housing to its residents, with a regular selection of events and bonding exercises which span everything from gigs to classes. The idea of co-living will be unfamiliar to many, but during Open House London, you’ll have a chance to explore this unconventional way of cohabiting in one of the city’s most unusual housing projects.
London’s biggest business park, Park Royal spans more than 1000 aces, and provides space for an equally vast number of businesses. It is thought that around a third of all the food consumed in the city is supplied by companies at Park Royal, and the surrounding area also includes lots of residential properties and extra amenities for workers.
Other events and activities
In addition to opening the doors on these notable London buildings, this year’s Open House London will also include a bike tour through the city’s social housing courtesy of Tokyo Bike, and a photography competition which looks at architecture through an Instagram lens. The Open House Families activities will also offer a series of events for children (0-13), enduring all ages can get involved.