Open House 2019 reveals 800 London properties to see for free

By Stefanie Gerdes
August 22, 2019

August 2019

by Stefanie Gerdes

Open House London has released the list of buildings participating in the event’s 2019 edition.

More than 800 buildings across the capital will open their doors to the public on 21 and 22 September in what is billed the world’s largest architectural showcase, with around 250,000 people set to attend.

The theme for this year’s festival has been set as ‘social’, placing a special focus on exploring “what it means to live together in cities today” – 100 years after the Housing, Town Planning, &c. Act 1919, better known as the Addison Act, made building new homes a national responsibility.

Participating projects include residential and commercial spaces as well as religious and educational institutions, key industrial and infrastructure buildings, as well as diplomatic and government spaces.

Open House London 2019 marks the third year in a row where all 32 boroughs are taking part in the two-day festival. Events are free to attend, although the number of people who can visit a property may be limited.

Access for the most popular buildings, as well as those with the need for heightened security, will be decided by a ballot – these include 10 Downing Street, the BT Tower and The Shard as well as the US Embassy in Nine Elms.

Others, such as A House with a Slide, will be open to ticketholders only. Tickets are assigned on a first come, first served basis and available now.

Following last year’s success, the Elements photography competition is also returning. It invites festival attendees to further explore the city and share their images on Instagram.

As well as the chance to get a peek at some of the city’s most exciting and innovative projects, Open House London also offers visitors a programme of neighbourhood walks and architect-led tours.

Must-see properties

Below, we have picked our highlights of this year’s event:

1. A House with a slide

Alongside a double-height atrium and large internal windows, this family home by Seán and Stephen also features a fun addition: a slide from the kitchen to the basement.

2. New Ground

Stemming from a collaboration between Pollard Thomas Edwards and the Older Women’s Co-Housing group, the 25 self-contained flats house women aged 50 or older who have previously lived alone and built their own co-housing community.

3. Shad Thames Water Tower

Transforming an unused water tower above a 19th-century warehouse apartment into a home created space and a link to a roof terrace in the former water tank.

4. Gin Distillery, Whitechapel

Open Practice Architecture converted a Victorian gin distillery in Bethnal Green into a contemporary family home.

5. Isokon Building (Lawn Road Flats)

Designed by Wells Coates for Molly and Jack Pritchard, the minimalist residential building originally opened in 1936 and was the home for a range of big names – including Agatha Christie – as well as World War II spies. It also holds not one but three blue plaques: Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and László Moholy-Nagy were among the block’s early residents.

6. Steampunk House

‘More is more’ was the brief to Bradley Van Der Straeten Architects. They blended Art Deco, Bauhaus and Steampunk elements to create a striking home in a locally listed property in Stepney.

7. Up Side Down House Highgate

Extensions on three levels added floor area to this Victorian property in North London while also giving its exterior a distinctive look.

8. Gap House

Pitman Tozer Architects built the slim Gap House on a narrow 8ft-wide site. Designed to be environmentally friendly, it features technology including rainwater sourcing and ground source heat pump heating.

9. 24 St John’s Church Road

This light-filled refurbished Victorian house in Dalston is believed to be first in the UK to feature a heated a clay ceiling.