Please help us with our programme of research by telling us your thoughts on architecture and the built environment, and your experience of the event, by filling in our online questionnaire. Other specific feedback can be emailed to openhouse@open-city.org.uk


This section is intended to answer the general questions that Open House is frequently asked about the annual weekend event and the work of the charity itself.

Q1. What are the criteria for buildings to be included?
A1 Design excellence of all or part of the building.

Q2 Why don’t buildings open all weekend or are at least co-ordinated so that ones near to each other open at the same time?
A2 Because each building has to do what is best within their limited resources and as they have kindly agreed to participate at their own cost we do not and we are in not in a position to impose rules upon them.

Q3 As there are so many wonderful buildings to visit, couldn’t this event be spread over several weekends or indeed over the year?
A3 The organisation and co-ordination of this is well beyond our current means and the property owners are happy to be part of one major Capital event rather than be split into smaller events.

Q4 Why is Open House annual event limited to London?
A4 The reason for setting up this hugely popular annual event was to encourage the inhabitants from all parts of London to take notice and enjoy their local buildings and those across the whole of the capital. Also we hope that it will encourage everyone to demand better designed buildings in the future be they a small extension, a school, an office building, a hospital etc.
There are similar events which take place around the same time as part of European Heritage Days although we take a unique view in the organisation of this event.
The Open House Weekend now takes place in six cities worldwide and its status as a cultural and educational event continues to grow internationally. Cities part of the official 'family' are New York, Dublin, Galway, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Barcelona, Helsinki, Melbourne, Slovenia, Lisbon, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Thessaloniki, Limerick, Gdansk-Sopot-Gdynia, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Porto, Cork, Belfast, Prague, Vilnius. For further information on these event see www.openhouseworldwide.org

Q5 When is the Programme published?
A5 It is usually in the second week of August, depending upon how it is funded. At present we do not have a sponsor for the production of it and therefore it is published in the third week of August and is free from participating borough libraries or at a small charge through Open House London.

Q6 Why are there bookings necessary for some buildings, and how does the system work?
A6 Each building selects its own method of opening, and for various reasons may decide to operate a booking system. When people don't show for places they have booked, however, this is most unfair both on the property owners and the other people who were unable to book. Therefore we have reviewed this system and now all participating buildings and events host their own booking system. Details of each system for 2015 can be found on the appropriate listing once the programme is announced.

Q7 How is Open House London annual event funded?
A7 The event itself is funded from a number of sources with the property owners contributing considerable time and resources to open up their buildings as in-kind sponsorship; financial sponsorship for different aspects of the event; financial contributions from 30 out of 33 London local authority councils; individual donations and trusts and foundations for the educational projects within the annual event.

Q8 What about the funding for the overall organisation of the Open House charity?
A8 Most of the funding comes from project funding, that means that only a small amount of funds are given to the charity to develop the work or sustain it as an organisation.
An increasing number of commercial organisations are helping to develop the organisation.

Q9 Why doesn’t Open House London charge for entry into the buildings during the annual event?
A9 Our aim is to increase more understanding about the importance of good design for individual buildings and for our environment as a whole. Also we believe in access for all rather than just the few. The combination of these two beliefs means that we try to continue to have free access.

Q10 There is often a charge for the printed programme for each year’s event but it used to be free?
A10 We sought and obtained sponsorship for the printed programme. However this has become increasingly difficult and also sometime constraining so we are now having to ask for a small charge to cover the design and print. However it is still possible to obtain a free copy from your London library if they are located in one of the boroughs that contribute, so you have a choice of how you obtain your copy.

Q11 Why are the buildings located in the Programme by borough rather than say postal code?
A11 As the funding for the event comes from many of the London local authorities, the agreement is to classify them in their borough area.

Q12 Why aren’t all the boroughs represented?
A12 Only if a local authority contributes to the annual event is their area included. The majority do in effect contribute and we hope that the outstanding ones will join the scheme in the near future.

Q13 Are children welcome at all locations?
A13 Children are welcome, respecting of course the wishes and rules set out by each property owner who have the ultimate right to agree access to their building.

Q14 Are there activities for children during the annual event?
A14 There are several, usually depending upon available sponsorship and funding but these are hopefully increasing year on year. In 2014, we also held Open House Junior - click here for more information.

Q15 What does Open-City do the rest of the year?
A15 Although Open House London annual event is a highlight of the year, Open-City (as the organisation is now known) develop and run many educational programmes for inner city London schools and Summer school projects with a number of partners. We also develop programmes for London ’s decision makers and aim to influence the future development of London through dialogue and consultation.

Q16 How can I get my building involved in Open House?
A16 The majority of the programme is compiled with our own research, and occasionally suggestions for inclusion are made to us which we are then able to consider on their individual merits. The criteria for inclusion in the Open House event are architectural merit, and buildings/areas of buildings that are not usually accessible to the general public.
Prospective participants can find out more here

Q17. How can I get involved as a volunteer?
A Event requires stewards and guides to help at participating buildings, and in return volunteers receive a badge that lets them jump queues at buildings. For full details and how to apply download this info sheet

Q18 What are the dates for 2016?
The dates for Open House London in 2016 will be 17 & 18 September


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