A stag­ger­ing 800 build­ings in all 33 bor­oughs are tak­ing part in Open House Lon­don week­end. Philippa Stock­ley goes ex­plor­ing

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Front Page -

TO MARK the 25th year of Open House Lon­don, the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the city’s best build­ings will in­clude all 33 bor­oughs for the first time. The event — be­ing held over the week­end of Septem­ber 16-17 — will of­fer free en­try to 800 prop­er­ties, plus talks and walks fo­cus­ing on the build­ings them­selves and on the neigh­bour­hoods where we live, work and play. Last year 250,000 Lon- don­ers took part. This year a wel­come trend in new homes and one-off hous­ing is in­ven­tive­ness with re­new­able ma­te­ri­als, es­pe­cially tim­ber: from cross-lam­i­nated ply­wood that’s su­per-strong for struc­tural use, to hard­woods in­clud­ing oak, ash — even burnt ex­te­rior tim­ber.

There’s also a strong show­ing for brick, which in the right hands is trans­for­ma­tive. Mean­while, sev­eral homes tri­umph over tight or dif­fi­cult sites or work mira- cles with tiny in­side space, in some cases mak­ing use of in­ge­nious be­spoke fur­ni­ture. It’s the Lon­don of the fu­ture. There’s also a big hur­rah for an in­trepid group who tore down their old block of flats to make fan­tas­tic new homes. Here’s our pick of the bunch, in­clud­ing one home so new, it’s only just be­ing fin­ished.


6 Wood Lane, High­gate, by Birds Portch­mouth Rus­sum Ar­chi­tects: this house with dou­ble-height rooms, a smok­ers bal­cony and a semi-cir­cu­lar win­ter gar­den ap­pears to be straight out of Thun­der­birds. It’s a thrilling new home that will make your heart skip a beat. Hid­den House, Clerkenwell Green, by Cof­fey Ar­chi­tects: Cof­fey is bril­liant with dif­fi­cult spa­ces and on this con­strained site, light is brought in from float­ing rooflights, used to ad­van­tage in a serene house that’s smart and very pri­vate.


Is­ling­ton Mi­cro Flat, by CIAO (Cre­ative Ideas & Ar­chi­tec­ture Of­fice): this com­pact home clev­erly shows off what you can do with just 385sq ft of space. Check out the slid­ing-out bed and the draw­ers in the stairs. The fur­ni­ture is all be­spoke and looks great. Ge­nius. A Kitchen on Wheels, Wood Green, by Turner Ar­chi­tects: in­side a cute Vic­to­rian rail­way cot­tage, the ar­chi­tects used a meta­mor­phic piece of fur­ni­ture on wheels — a to­tal kitchen that also works as a room di­vider or a book­case, pushed aside for par­ties.

Sail Street, Lam­beth, by HKR Ar­chitey: the small­est flat on show at de­vel­oper Pocket Liv­ing launche q ft, su­per high-set win­dows bring in im­pres­sive new scheme of 27 one-of light, while the in­te­ri­ors are made room flats, in­clud­ing one wheelch free or found ma­te­ri­als. It’s The Bo­rac­cess, plus three two-bed­room ho­ers’ style for the mod­ern age. and a shared roof ter­race. Local dents get 35 per cent off the ma value. Pocket works hard to cre­ate h qual­ity liv­ing spa­ces, and it shows.

1a Wood­land Road, Crys­tal Paletts Grove, Stoke New­ing­ton, by Amin

de­signed by Melinda Styles and nated tim­ber in­stead of steel for the

struc­ture of six units, which are then brick-faced out­side. The six homes in this slen­der block are woody in­side and they have strik­ing wicker bal­conies. De­serv­ing win­ner of a RIBA Lon­don award.

35 Lutwyche Road, Lewisham, by BAM! ar­chi­tec­ture stu­dio: on a tiny end-of-ter­race plot, the fin­ish­ing touches are be­ing put to a tri­an­gu­lar court­yard home which uses sky­lights well, but where the

big at­trac­tion is strik­ing burnt-tim­ber cladding — it sits bril­liantly along­side its Vic­to­rian brick neigh­bour.

Domino Houses, Wood Green, by Stu­dio Verve: black again, but this time in brick, also shows to good ad­van­tage at Domino Houses. This scheme of eight homes with curv­ing green roofs — and the strik­ing port­hole win­dows that prompted the name Domino — was a de­serv­ing fi­nal­ist in the 2016 Brick Awards. Foundry Mews, Barnes High Street, SW13, by Project Or­ange: an­other bricky win­ner, this time on a tricky back­land site that has been turned into a sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of seven homes on top of work­shops, set along a court­yard. Lovely, well-done brick de­tail­ing re­ally lifts the ex­te­ri­ors.

Hafer Road, Wandsworth, by Peter Bar­ber Ar­chi­tects: for sheer brick-balled verve, have a look at Hafer Road. The res­i­dents of a coun­cil block all bought their flats, then they clubbed to­gether to co-build this strik­ing de­vel­op­ment in­stead that gives them big­ger apart­ments for grow­ing or ex­tended fam­i­lies. Seven flats for res­i­dents were funded by eight flats for sale. Smart flats, smart think­ing, and a bril­liant model for fu­ture hous­ing. For full de­tails and the guide, visit open­house­lon­

Hid­den House: float­ing rooflights bring light flood­ing into this home tucked away in a se­cluded Clerkenwell lo­ca­tion

Visit for free: the spec­tac­u­lar Grade I-listed Great Barn at Har­mondsworth in Hilling­don, res­cued by English Her­itage and re­stored to its me­dieval glory, will wel­come Open House Lon­don vis­i­tors

Bar­retts Grove: this slen­der Stokey block has a brick façade and wicker bal­conies

Wow fac­tor: 6 Wood Lane, High­gate, with dou­ble-height rooms and a win­ter gar­den

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