Open House Weekend 2012

It’s our first weekend back to London and its a busy one! London is buzzing throughout the year,but if you are into any form of design, September is definitely the time to enjoy it. We try and make the most of Openhouse London (remember last year with Phil driving a boat on Thames?). This year we -again- had no time to prepare our visits (which is highly recommendable as on some of the popular buildings you could be queuing for hours) so we thought we would just take a walk and see how it goes.

Openhouse is a great idea! If you are not familiar with it you can have a look on their website. It involves a large number of buildings, new, old, refurbished or not, private offices and spaces are all opening their doors to the public for them to explore the spaces and Architecture. On every space there are volunteers that give you a leaflet with the brief history and information on the building. Its a great way to get to know a little it more on the city whether you are a reside for a visitor. Great day out with the kids as it’s a free easy day in town. For kids a little bit older than ours there is even more as you can follow the family activities that take place in different places of London, or if you feel like it, you can join the Archikids club for different events throughout the year.

We visited the Unilever house near the Embankment. The building was a transformation of an old office building that is listed and therefore, any work to it would have to be done with great sensitivity, respect towards the materials and style and a large budget! I took a photo of the information we were given for you to read a bit more on the building. We particularly liked the art installation in the atrium. You should read below on how it moves! There was also a model of the building, so some of these photos are the real view next to the model.

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Next stop was 120 Fleet Street, or what is known as the ex Daily Express building. A completely different style to the Unilever building! A beautiful example of fairly recent Art Deco. Ah! The glamour on every finish in the lobby area! The variety of the materials and the cinematic Hollywood like drama everywhere. Phil and I loved walking around what was ones the headquarters of the very known newspaper. Again, worth zooming into the photo to read the facts. Personal highlights, how the building was originally built under the requirement that the basement had to fit in the, then, enormous, printing machines. Reminded me on how much steel structures have changed the way we build. If you are ever in the area, take a moment and look at the shinny facade. It’s made on a time where glass buildings weren’t around that much and yet it is now competing with them.

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