This weekend London will unlock its best kept architectural secrets as the annual Open House project gifts the public access to over 700 private buildings across the capital, for free.
Popular favourites can be revisited – Jimmy Hendrix’s flat on Brook Street, and the BT Tower, which was added to the Open House stable last year, again opening up its vertiginous and revolving 34th floor on Maple Street.
In the City John Soane’s eighteenth century Bank of England can be visited on Threadneedle Street, while the ex-Daily Express building by Sir Owen Williams and Robert Atkinson at 120 Fleet Street will open its foyer as an example of 1930s Art Deco finery.
There will also be tours of the Olympics park in Greenwich and full access will be granted to the new Foreign Office Architects designed Ravensbourne building, noted for its tessellated facade.
It is also a final opportunity to take a look at the former Commonwealth Institute Building, onKensington High Street, which will become the new home of the Design Museum in 2014.
Designed by Lord Cunliffe, the building, noted for epitomising experimental 20th century modernism, stands to be transformed by designer John Pawson.
Some tours, events and walks have been developed around this year’s Liveable City theme. With an emphasis on local community, the design of homes and impact of climate change, visitors will be encouraged to explore the role of architects and contemporary design in regenerating areas of London to make them more liveable.
Some of this has been brought together under what Open City calls Design for Living – essentially a history of domestic housing – which has been mapped across contemporary award winning examples, 60s vintage, eco- and retro- fitted, post-war social housing, and new mixed use/mixed tenure solutions.
Open House weekend takes place over 17-18 September 2011. For more details go to www.openhouselondon