London's Open House this weekend

08 September 2016


Rory Olcayto, director of Open House London, tells us more about the festival…

I’m delighted that once again hundreds of buildings normally closed to the public will open up for free this weekend. Open House started here in 1992. The idea has been so successful it’s since spread to more than 30 cities worldwide.

Open House is a brilliant way to celebrate London’s amazing architecture. It’s a chance to see everything from social housing in Whitechapel, to the viewing gallery in the Gherkin and even the Foreign Office in Westminster. Open House attracts around a quarter of a million people over the weekend, who relish this chance to roam where they want.

It’s worth taking a look around some private homes in trendy east London. Their snazzy makeovers are always popular. But then so are brand new offices in central London with their hi-tech low energy credentials.

Then there’s the countless churches, mosques and synagogues (and temples of other faiths too), which always open their doors. For Open House they make an extra effort to share and connect with visitors.

For me, the weekend is also a pure expression of the Mayor’s new campaign, #LondonIsOpen. In essence, Open House is a celebration of London’s great spirit of curiosity and Londoners’ desire to work and live together. I would say the weekend is more about people than buildings. I’m thinking of those who designed and built London’s architecture.

I’m also thinking about the people who use them today. Then there’s the many thousands of us who have our own thoughts and feelings – good and bad! -  about the buildings we visit over the two days.

Finally of course, there are the people who make the weekend possible – the Open House volunteers. These people of all ages and nationalities lend their support freely. They do this because they believe so strongly in London’s status as an open city. A place that is inclusive, cultured, friendly and thoughtful, which is exactly what Open House London is about.


Visit City Hall this weekend

City Hall will be open on Saturday 17 September, so come and take a look around the building. You can also visit our #LondonIsOpen exhibition, commissioned by
Art on the Underground, which features the artworks that have featured as posters on London’s transport network. This includes:

  • David Shrigley, ‘London: Everyone Welcome’, 2016
  • Gillian Wearing OBE, ‘Work Towards World Peace’, 1992–1993
  • Hew Locke and Indra Khanna, ‘Mappa Mundi’, 2016
  • Tania Bruguera, ‘The Francis Effect’, 2014
  • Mark Titchner, ‘No Them Only Us’, 2016
  • Jeremy Deller, ‘London & On & On’, 2016
  • Sol Calero, ‘Londres abierto’, 2016
  • Bedwyr Williams, ‘Nobody Gets My Goat’, 2016
  • Alexandre da Cunha, ‘West Series Flags (Yellow)’, 2016

The #LondonIsOpen designs from the creative open call will also be on display throughout City Hall.

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