My London

Victoria Thornton Hon FRIBA, Founding Director, Open House

Welcome to Open House London: the capital’s biggest architecture festival that throws open the doors of hundreds of buildings giving you the chance to explore the best of the city’s architecture. Great buildings and the city’s public spaces shape our daily lives as we live, learn, work and play. Get out on 18 & 19 September 2010 and get inside what makes London great. Here, some Londoners share their thoughts on London...

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
“I’m delighted to support Open House London. London’s architecture really does tell the
story of this magnificent city. Experiencing a building in the flesh can help to understand, appreciate and critique it. Open House London hopes to inspire everyone to explore the Capital and take an interest in good design for generations today and into the future.”

Richard Rogers, Lord Rogers of Riverside CH
“Open House is a wonderful concept trying to
help break down the barrier between the architectural profession and the public by explaining what architects do and how buildings are designed and built. It is very hard to recommend one building in a city where there are so many good architects and buildings.”

Peter Bishop, Director, Design Development & Environment, London Development Agency
“London’s unique architecture – from the domestic to cultural and civic landmarks – forms a vital part of London’s identity and history. Open House provides the opportunity to explore some of our greatest buildings and to stumble across the unusual, the new and the quirky.”

Sean Griffiths, Practice Director, FAT
“London is a mess interspersed with monuments that are never positioned monumentally which is what is good about it. It’s not a city of objects, but one which unfolds as you move through it.
Not withstanding that its monuments are marvellous and eccentric from Hawksmoor’s churches to Trellick Tower. Most of the churches are open all year round, so for Open House I’d recommend Trellick which isn’t.”

Robert Noel, Chairman, Westminster
Property Association and Supporter of Open House
“Open House gives us the excuse to feast on our architectural heritage and learn about an individual building’s place in our national history and life today. Walk from Apsley House through St James’s Park to Westminster Hall then move onto the Royal Courts of Justice.”

Tony Chambers, wallpaper* editor-in-chief
“Classics like the Royal College of Physicians, Highpoint and Trellick Tower are an obvious must-see during Open House London, but there is a wealth of contemporary architecture too.”

Andrew Whiting, Practice Director, HÛT
“It’s the dynamism of London that I love – the way that architecture, sometimes subtle, sometimes conspicuous, can transform existing spaces, buildings and areas.”

John Alker, Head of Advocacy, UK Green Building Council
“Where do you start with the architecture on offer in London? There is such quality and diversity, both new and old. It’s also heartening to see the growth of sustainability – green building – not as some optional extra, but as integral to the overall concept of good design. I’ll take in one or two of the exemplar green homes, which offer such a positive vision of the future – low impact, but high quality of life.”

Paul Finch OBE, Editor emeritus of the Architectural Review and Director, World Architecture Festival
“London is full of architectural marvels both old and new. I would strongly recommend a visit to Hopkins & Partners’ Portcullis House, the MPs’ building opposite Big Ben. It has real gravitas and a marvellous central space. Best of all, you can use the Westminster Underground Station below, designed by the same architect as part of the Jubilee Line programme. The station is magnificent - no interior space in London comes near it. A wonderful example of architecture applied to engineering.”

Margaret Howell, Fashion Designer
“Grand, famous, small, obscure, London’s buildings open for us this weekend; a privilege not to be missed. What I find really exciting though is insight into sometimes extraordinary personal spaces, such as Richard Wilson’s studio on the river Thames, Slice of Reality. One’s spirit is totally lifted by the experience.”

Jim McClelland, Founder & Editor, sustain’ magazine
“Sustainability in the built environment calls not for single-issue politics, but for a spirit of pluralism in design. It is not about ‘either/or’, it is about ‘and’. Take the example of Rye Oak Children’s Centre in Southwark, by Eger Architects: zero-carbon-rated construction, with up to 20% energy from renewables AND water recycling AND natural ventilation AND a living ‘brown’ roof for biodiversity. All elements combine to deliver significant local-community benefit, integrated into the urban fabric alongside existing Victorian architecture. Joined-up. Smart. Sustainable.”

Ken Allinson, Architect and Author
“Open House has to be the finest, largest and most lively and stimulating architectural event in London’s cultural calendar. Here is culture and Culture in a unique intermix of the everyday and the self-consciously aspirational, all of it cut through by a shared concern for quality in such a manner that it is difficult to say if Open House is about architecture or simply London life. It’s there for you to construct your own agenda, with sufficient content to enable you to determine your own content. And, while some of the event’s content remains among recurring favourites, some 30-40% changes each year, especially among the group of smaller and private properties. Make the most of it in 2009!”

Charlie Luxton, Architect and Broadcaster
“London may not have the Grand Beauty of Paris or the visual power of New York. Its magic lies in the fact it’s a city of such density of stories and richness of history, like an attic full of treasures waiting to be discovered by the curious explorer...”

(nb. buildings referenced in the above quotes may not feature in the 2010 event. Full final details of the participating buildings will be available in August 2010.)