Each year, London’s architecture lovers hit the streets in numbers to wander around some of the capital’s greatest buildings. Between 21st and 22nd of September, buildings across London – from residential properties to cemeteries and embassies – will open their doors to the public in celebration of great design for Open House 2019. With more than 800 buildings listed this year, it looks to be one of the biggest Open House weekends to date but with that much choice, how do you know where to visit? You certainly can’t see everything, so we’ve put together five of our highlights so that you can have a whistle stop tour of the best residential properties in London.
Situated in Dartmouth Park, this property comes courtesy of Architecture for London. The extension was designed to connect Dartmouth Park House to its large garden. Before the work began, ivy grew gracefully against the Victorian home but had caused brick damage. Its removal has been mitigated by the concrete beams at roof level which extend from inside the dining area into the garden, emphasising the width of the outside space. The beams will allow controlled wisteria growth, forming a covered outdoor social area.
Exemplifying the freedom that great architecture can grant, Hugo Road’s focal point is a new 2-storey extension that frees up the whole first floor of the property. The owners, having just had their third child, needed to fundamentally rethink the usage of space in the home to create more room. Refreshing ideas from Robert Rhodes Architecture made use of an existing side passage to add a slender extension which houses the circulation, services spaces and even the entrance.
Refurbished by YAM Studios, this third-floor South Kensington flat takes inspiration from the stripped-back Scandinavian aesthetic loved by its owners. A preliminary rip-out left only the fireplace and 3-metre-tall period ceiling intact. The space is left calm and meditative thanks to the muted colour scheme and lighting solutions. Indirect light was used throughout to accentuate certain textures, a technique that maintains the subtle style while keeping a sense of intrigue.
Completed in 1934, the Isokon Building is more than just great architecture, it’s an iconic relic of European design as a whole. This Grade 1 listed building at one point housed leaders of the Bauhaus movement Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Laszlo Moholy as well as Agatha Christie and numerous other architects, designers, intellectuals, writers and spies. The building, commissioned by Jack and Molly Pritchard gave these thinkers a place to live with few possessions and be catered for, allowing them to concentrate fully on life and their work.
Completed in 2016 by Michaelis Boyd Associates, The Round House shows that new builds can be innovative and creative just as easily as family homes can be stylish. The 3,500 sq.ft. space needed to be modern but also respectful of the architectural context. Subtle touches like the slide adjacent to the stairs or a fireman’s pole connecting floors prove that family homes can work for all parties without sacrificing style.
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