Open House London
Do you like looking around other people’s houses? Love to get a bit of interior design inspiration, perhaps? In that case, Open House London (22nd – 23rd September) is all of your sightseeing dreams come true. Buildings and spaces which are usually off-limits to the public are being unlocked, as part of a free event celebrating quality architecture.
More than 750 buildings, tours and walks are in the 2018 programme, but for many it’s all about one address: Open House will be (politely) requesting that Theresa May makes a bit of room for extra house guests at 10 Downing Street. This is the only chance to apply for a tour of the Prime Minister’s home, so entry is a fiercely contested battle. A ballot decides who gets tickets.
Two further public-ballot buildings are strictly for those with a head for heights: the 190m-high BT Tower, north of the Thames in Fitzrovia, and the upper reaches of The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe at 306m. Aside from those headliners, there’s plenty to see. The new Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross has just opened. The hub for the study of Muslim civilisations was designed by Japanese architects Maki and Associates. Its spaces follow Islamic design, including a rooftop garden inspired by the Mughal Empire.
How about a peek inside the new US Embassy? Opened in January, the United States’ patch of London is now in Nine Elms, on the southern bank of the Thames. Designed by Philadelphia architecture firm KieranTimberlake, this spiralling structure includes vertical interior gardens of American flora. For something older, Covent Garden’s Royal Opera House (rebuilt for the third time in 1858 after a fire) is also joining in for the first time.