ADD2133 Support for Open House London weekend

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Date signed: 
05 July 2017
Decision by: 
Debbie Jackson, Interim Executive Director of Development, Enterprise and Environment

Executive summary

London Open House takes place during the weekend of 16 and 17 September 2017. During those two days, buildings which are usually closed to the public get opened to Londoners to explore and learn more about what happens within.


In support of the Mayor’s commitment to help the affordable workspace agenda, it is proposed that £12,000 be approved to fund the opening of buildings that have never participated in Open House. These buildings will be part of the theme of ‘Affordable Workspace and SMEs’.


That the Assistant Director of Regeneration approves expenditure of up to £12,000 to supporting London Open House weekend as part of the affordable workspace agenda.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Open House London (Open House) started life in 1992 as a small, not-for-profit organisation to promote public awareness and appreciation of the capital's building design and architecture. The intention was to open up London's buildings to the general public who don't otherwise have access to them. Opening these buildings for a weekend helps Londoners and particularly the local communities to become more knowledgeable, engage in dialogue and make informed judgements on architecture.

Open House reasons that cities are made of buildings but there is a lack of learning process by the citizens about the structure, composition and design of them. Open House is a great opportunity to allow Londoners to learn more about the buildings that surround them. The buildings are categorised under the following themes: a) design for living b) how the city works c) place and spaces d) a greener city and e) building through vocal eyes.

The launch event of Open House 2017 is taking place in City Hall, in the Living Room, on 14 September. The launch event is being co-organised with the GLA Culture team.

We are proposing that in conjunction with the launch event, and as part of the Mayor’s agenda of affordable workspace and in keeping with the ‘London Is Open’ campaign, the GLA will provide funding of £12,000 to support the initiative and get new buildings opened during the weekend, the overall theme of which will be ‘Affordable Workspace’.

The objective of this theme is to showcase how London remains a city open to businesses and that behind closed doors small, independent businesses drive the economy and provide the wide range of employment opportunities that make London unique. 

Although a significant part of the work of Open House is done by volunteers, the administration is done by the ‘Open City’ organisation which is run by a small core team. The £12,000 will be used to pay for the staff that work behind the scenes during the year to ensure the weekend of Open House runs smoothly and is productive and enjoyable to Londoners.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Two main objectives of this initiative are: a) to promote the affordable workspace agenda and  b) to showcase that London remains an open city for businesses.

Equality comments

The main objective of Open House is to help change perceptions, break down barriers and inspire people to demand high-quality places for all Londoners. This is a very inclusive agenda that pioneers programmes and initiatives designed to meet the needs of all those who live in the capital from young to old. Open House is free for all Londoners and permits people from all ages and backgrounds to access buildings that are normally closed to the general public.

Other considerations

This initiative is closely linked to the following mayoral priorities:

  • The London is Open campaign
  • The Workspace Providers Board and the Mayor’s affordable workspace agenda
Financial comments

The £12,000 cost of this initiative will be funded from the 2017-18 Growing Places Fund ‘revenue’ budget, specifically from under-spends accruing from the LEP SME Implementation Plan project previously approved by MD1245.

Activity table



Publication of the Open House guide


Launch event of Open House in City Hall

14 September

Open House weekend

16-17 September

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