Top ten highlights of Open House London
- Credit: Archant
This weekend buildings across the capital throw open their doors to welcome the public with the return of Open House London. Here, in no particular order, the organisation’s Rosalind Morris selects a few highlights.
1. Eleventh Church of Christ, Scientist, London, 11 St Chad’s Street
The Eleventh Church of Christ’s new home was transformed from a dilapidated building in a conservation area to a 60-seat auditorium replete with reading room, bookshop, Sunday school and offices. Open 10am to 5pm Saturday and 12pm to 5pm Sunday.
2. Freemasons Hall, 60 Great Queen Street
Its monumental, classical exterior belies its elaborate and varied interior decoration with extensive use of mosaics, stained glass, decorated ceilings and lighting. Open Sunday 10am to 5pm.
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3. Mount Pleasant, 52-54 Mount Pleasant
A former Victorian workhouse that has been transformed through Camden Council’s community investment programme into a state of the art facility for 50 homeless people laid out around a beautiful suntrap courtyard. Tours will be led by council staff and Peter Barber Architects every hour from 10.30am-3.30pm. Maximum of 8 per tour.
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4. Muswell Hill Walk
Meet at Queen’s Avenue, beside Muswell Hill Library. The tour takes in early and late Victorian, Edwardian and 1930s buildings, and gives an historical interpretation of how a rural enclave changed into a unique Edwardian suburb. Finishes North Bank, Pages Lane, with an illustrated talk. Saturday at 2pm with a maximum of 45 walkers per tour.
The first purpose-built new-build community centre to be built in central London for generations, located within the renowned Phoenix Gardens. Open 11am to 6pm with architect and gardener led tours at 3pm on both days.
5. Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrew’s Place, Regents Park
With its dramatic interior spaces and white mosaic exterior elevated on piloti this Grade I listed building is one of London’s most important examples of postwar architecture. Open Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Pre-booking is required. Regular, hour-long tours are every 30 minutes from 9.30am-4.30pm.
6. SPPARC Architecture, 10 Bayley Street, Bedford Square
This award-winning practice has a UK and International portfolio. Visitors can take part in live debates, explore workshops, listen to talks and become part of the design process. Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm with workshop tours at 1pm (maximum of 10 per tour and 50 visitors overall).
7. Tower and Churchyard of St Mary’s Hornsey, High Street Hornsey
Grade II* listed tower with restored chapel remaining from Medieval parish church. Tour includes crypt, ringing chamber and main roof with excellent extensive views in all directions. Organised by the Friends of Hornsey Church Tower. Includes tours of the Tower from crypt to roof with self-guided tomb and tree tours in the churchyard every 15 minutess (2pm-4.30pm) maximum 15 per tour. Open 2pm to 5pm.
8. Senate house, University of London, Malet Street
London’s tallest secular building when it opened as the headquarters of the University of London, this Grade II* listed landmark features classicism and art deco elements. Pop-up exhibitions will be on display. Open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday with regular tours between 11am and 4pm. Maximum of 250 visitors allowed.
9. Valhalla, 89 Swains Lane, Highgate
Valhalla in Norse mythology is the hall of slain warriors. A place of honour, glory and happiness. Here an outdated facade is transformed by the ancient Japanese art Shou Sugi Ban. The wood is charred, cooled & treated with natural oil. A contemporary home now sits with its neighbours Waterlow Park and Highgate Cemetery. 10am to 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday with talks at 10am, 12pm and 2pm.
10. Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, 11 South Grove
A fine stuccoed building overlooking Pond Square, and home to the Institution since 1840. Formed from a 1790 coach house, stables and yard, with final additions c1880. Sunday 1pm to 5pm. Access to the main building including the Victoria Hall, library and members’ room. (maximum visitors 15). Regular tours take place every 30 minutes (1pm-4.30pm) with a limit of 15 visitors per tour.