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open house london 2019

Open House London 2019 | Off the beaten track places to visit

Open House London is the world’s largest architectural showcase. Over 800 buildings will open their doors over the weekend, and for the third year in a row, every London borough is participating.

Celebrate the best of architecture and design with Open House London 2019. Explore Roman ruins, discover innovative eco-friendly homes and visit some of London’s most famous landmarks all in one weekend.

Here are our top 10 places to visit this year…

Open House London 2019

Date: 21 and 22 September 2019

English National Ballet

This transformational project has seen the English National Ballet School, rehearsal and administration functions move from west to east and into the heart of London City Island. The new building is a translucent, lightweight structure where the masonry blocks appear to creak open – revealing the island core. The move to London City Island expands their current accommodation by providing eight new rehearsal spaces, one with full rigging, and dedicated dressing and rehearsal spaces. By using large windows and external performance spaces, members of the public will be able to get a glimpse into the lives of those training and rehearsing with the ENB.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 10am-5pm
Address: English National Ballet, 41 Hopewell Square, E14 0SY

Pre-booking required.

Museum of London Docklands

During Open House London the Museum of London Docklands is running tours every half an hour throughout both Saturday and Sunday with family specific tours at 12:30 and 14:00 (though families are welcome all day). There will be a maximum of 30 people on each tour.

Part of the Museum of London, the Museum of London Docklands occupies a Grade I listed building that was built in 1802 as part of the West India Docks and originally used as a sugar warehouse. The building has been restored with a keen eye to detail and now houses the museum displays showing the varied and fascinating history of the River Thames and London’s Docklands.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 10am-5:45pm
Address: No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay (off Hertsmere Road), E14 4AL

Hampstead Synagogue

Originally opened in 1892 and designed by Delissa Joseph, Hampstead Synagogue was built as a constituent member of the United Synagogue and for a time would be its largest congregation. It led the way in changes to ritual practice under Chief Rabbi Adler, with the omission of certain prayers, and was the first Orthodox community to not have a central platform (Bimah) in its architectural design. Over the years it has adopted the mainstream Orthodox ritual but it remains a liberal, free-thinking congregation. It’s a stunning building that needs to be seen to be appreciated (make sure you pay special attention to the stained glass windows at the back).

Date: Sunday 22nd
Time: Talk and Tour every 60 mins (2pm-4pm)
Address: Hampstead Synagogue, Dennington Park Road, West Hampstead, NW6 1AX

Pre-booking required.

St Mary’s Church

Plans for this 18th century Georgian Church were drawn up in local pub ‘The Raven’ with Joseph Dixon chosen as the architect to lead the project. As it was being built a crypt was dug underneath which is where Dixon is now buried following his death in 1787. The East Window of the old church and some of the monuments from the pre-Reformation church that stood before it has been incorporated into the building, offering a link to its 1552 past. It’s largely unchanged from when it was first built and is now a Grade I listed building in recognition of its beauty and architectural significance. It’s the only Grade I listed church in the Borough of Wandsworth.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 1pm-5pm
Address: Battersea Church Road, SW11 3NA

Cecil Sharp House

Cecil Sharp House is the only purpose-built folk arts centre in England, named after Cecil James Sharp who was the founder of the English Folk Dance Society.

Cecil Sharp House opened its doors originally in 1930 before being damaged by a bomb in 1940, and reopening in 1950. Now a Grade II listed building Cecil Sharp House classes, folk events, conferences and art exhibitions throughout the year.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 1pm-5pm
Address: 2 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 7AY

Crossrail Place Roof Garden

Located directly above the new Crossrail Station, the Roof Garden is a celebration of the Docklands maritime heritage and is cleverly positioned to be exactly north of Greenwich – placing it on the Prime Meridian Line that divides the western and eastern hemispheres. This rich history and astute building location were inspirations for the plants that fill this fascinating space. Designed to look like a ship laden with exotic cargo, much of the flora and fauna is native to the countries visited by ships of the West India Dock Company, who unloaded their cargo in the exact spot over 200 years ago. The EFTE lattice timber roof is partially open to the elements, offering a micro climate and the opportunity for birds and insects to make their home amongst the palms. It’s a truly peaceful space for the stressed-out city workers below.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 10am-5pm
Address: Crossrail Place Roof Garden (accessed from Adams Plaza on North Colonade or Upper Bank Street), Canary Wharf, E14 5AR

US Embassy

Open House London is offering a lucky few the chance to join a tour of the new US Embassy in Nine Elms. This tour is open to only 200 attendees and places will be decided by ballot so make sure you enter it to be in with a chance to see inside this impressive building and to hear directly from the architects in a presentation about the building.

The new US Embassy is a fantastic example of eco-friendly architecture. The building was designed by Kieran Timberlake with the aim to reduce its carbon footprint, by using new technologies, renewable energy sources and energy reduction strategies.

Date: Saturday 21st
Time: 10:30am-1pm
Address: 33 Nine Elms Lane, SW11 7US

Pre-booking required.

2 Willow Road

No. 2 Willow Road is the centre house in a terrace of three designed by Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger built in 1939. It has three floors at the front, and four at the back and is a rare and excellent example of an early Modern Movement house. Designed for flexibility and efficient use of space, the house has sliding and folding room dividers, no corridors and built-in cupboards. Ernö and his wife Ursula acquired a prominent collection of modern art, furniture, pottery, sculpture and unusual ‘found objects’ that sit alongside the domestic contents. After being acquired by the National Trust in 1994, the property has been open to the public for many years. Definitely worth a visit if you’re new to the Modern Movement.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: 11am-5pm
Address: 2 Willow Road, Hampstead, NW3 1TH

London City Island

London City Island, dubbed as London’s ‘mini Manhattan’, is fast becoming a residential favourite and cultural hub with the English National Ballet and London Film School soon to move onsite.

At this year’s Open House London event, you will have the chance to get up close and personal with this exciting development with a guided tour. Running on Saturday and Sunday there will be two tours one at 11am and one at 2pm. The tours will begin at Canning Town Station; from here, you will be lead across the red bridge and around the river walk surrounding London City Island before entering the landscaped gardens of the development. Following on from here you can continue the tour to the historic Trinity Buoy Wharf, home to London’s last remaining lighthouse, container city and an excellent American diner.

There is a maximum number of 60 people on each tour so be sure to get there early to secure your place.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: Tours at 11am and 2pm
Meet at: The Red Bridge at Canning Town Station by Bow Creek

Millennium Mills

The original Millennium Mills was designed and built in 1905 by William Vernon & Sons and could produce 100 sacks of flour an hour. In 1917 they were badly damaged in a huge explosion that was so big it blew out the windows of the Ritz, and then finally rebuilt in 1933 as a 10-storey art deco concrete building. Sadly, the Mills were not exempt from the damage of World War Two and had to be further repaired with the new building being fully operational by September 1953. The building has since been used for music videos from The Smiths, Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay, and for films and TV shows such as Silent Witness, Spiderman: Homecoming and Paddington 2.

Date: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd
Time: Regular tours every 60 mins (10am-3pm)
Address: Rayleigh Road, Royal Docks, E16 1UR

Pre-booking required.

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