The Modern House guide to what to see at Open House London 2018
Since starting 24 years ago, Open House has grown exponentially to now offer free access to over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours to an audience of over a quarter of a million people. With so much to see and do in just a weekend, it can be hard to chart a course, so we’ve put together an architecture lover’s guide for what to see at Open House London 2018, which runs Saturday 22nd until Sunday 23rd September.
The Modern House, TDO Architecture
Where better to start an architecture-packed weekend than at the headquarters of yours truly? Drop by at 11am and 1pm on Sunday 23rd September for a tour of our recently completed new offices, which occupy a former 1930s ecclesiastical hall in Southwark.
The space has been renovated to a design by TDO Architecture, who sought to celebrate the original building while making manifest our core principles of good design and architecture.
Pontypool Place, Nagan Johnson Architects
A two-minute walk from our offices takes you to the home and studio of Deborah Nagan and Michael Johnson, of Nagan Johnson Architects. The pair recently added a low-profile residential rooftop extension to a 19th-century warehouse, which has held their offices since 1999.
Holland Park House, Architecture for London
Our ears always perk up at the mention of a mid-century townhouse. Whack on a rear extension by a practice like Architecture for London and we’re fully signed up. The house, in Holland Park, is a 1966 red-brick terrace designed by Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, and has received a rear extension, internal refurbishment and new landscaping in a design that is sympathetic yet assertive.
Red House, 31/44 Architects
One of the best things about Open House for us here at The Modern House is going to revisit houses that we’ve sold, as is the case with Red House by 31/44 Architects. We loved the unique design of the three-storey split-level house, which draws from the local vernacular’s use of red brick detailing to comprise a bold yet appropriate façade.
Alexandra Road Estate, Neave Brown
Neave Brown’s masterpiece is an undisputed jewel of British Modernism, and a must-see for any architectural buff worth their salt. This year’s tours will focus on recent community drives to restore and reuse parts of the 520-home estate, some of which have been sold via The Modern House.
Bevin Court, Berthold Lubetkin
A lesser-known project by Berthold Lubetkin – of Highpoint fame – Bevin Court was completed in 1954 and is celebrated for its murals by artist Peter Yates and geometric staircase, which Lubetkin biographer John Allan summed up when he wrote: “it is difficult to cite any public staircase in the whole Modern Movement that can rival Lubetkin’s masterpiece at Bevin Court”.
Pullman Court, Frederick Gibberd
This 1930s Grade II-list development in Streatham Hill was designed by Frederick Gibberd – grandfather of The Modern House co-founder Matt Gibberd – to address the city’s housing shortage.
Gibberd, aged just 23, came up with a design for 218 one- to four-bedroom apartments in the Modernist style, incorporating Crittall windows, walnut sliding partitions and balconies with views over communal gardens. Excellently maintained, the building serves as a time-capsule for looking at the formative years of British Modernism.
Walter Segal Self-Build Houses, Walter Segal
Swiss-born architect Walter Segal is best known for his eponymous building method, which did away with brick-laying, cement-pouring and other practices he considered superfluous to the construction to the building of a good house.
The method was adopted by 13 residents of Lewisham council in the 1980s, all of whom self-built with little or no prior experience. The resulting timber frame houses comprise a row of idiosyncratic dwellings on a verdant hillside near Honor Oak.
Golden Lane Estate, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon
The precursor to everyone’s favourite Brutalist development, the Barbican, the Golden Lane Estate was Chamberlin, Powell and Bon’s first foray into social housing in the City of London. Ninety-minute resident-led tours run from 10 am until 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, while ‘The Arena Time Machine’ is a continuous film montage showing images from the extensive archive.