About Open House
Open House London is the world’s largest architecture festival, giving free public access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours over one weekend in September each year.
We started 25 years ago with the first Open House London in 1992. Back then our ethos was much the same as it is today. Giving free access to London’s best buildings was our founder Victoria Thornton’s way of inspiring the public about the benefits of great design. Our small team of staff deliver our programmes with the help of volunteers from across London, particularly from the built environment professions.
We are home to London’s most respected architectural education team – literally thousands of schoolchildren have participated in our annual programmes, we also run design awareness courses for community groups and host an annual sustainable cities conference for our expert professional audience. Much of what we do centres upon bringing city-makers - architects, developers, engineers, contractors – and the public together. Professionals play a key role in our education programmes, helping children learn about architecture, planning and infrastructure.
We believe the best cities arise when an informed and diverse public play an active role in shaping and maintaining the neighbourhoods they live in. We’re in this game for a very simple reason: because we love cities and we love London. And because we believe that great design - in architecture, urban design, planning and infrastructure - can transform the lives of ordinary people for the better.
Open House in numbers
Each year over a quarter of a million people take part in the Open House weekend, visiting over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours across London
The Open House guide is the biggest architectural publication in the UK, with a print run of 100,000 each year
The Open House concept has spread around the world, with over 35 cities across 5 continents in our ever-growing Open House Worldwide family
Good architecture and great design in our Centres plays a key part in what we do in supporting people with cancer. We have been involved with Open City for eight years and it is a privilege to work with an organisation which sees the benefits in - and promotes - great architecture
Chief Executive, Maggie’s
The contrasts of London’s architecture are the genius of its beauty. No other city in the world brings together so well the historic and the new, or can delight the eye with a range of styles from Corinthian marble to Modernist steel. Open House London celebrates this wonderful melange, and gives Londoners a rare insight into the best of our buildings. I fully support its work and wish it every success.
Former Mayor of London
London’s skyline is now a unique succession of diverse, exciting shapes, a statement of confidence in visionary architecture and its effect on the spirit of the city and its people. For me this strength more than outweighs some of the less adventurous developments to be seen today
Organising the programme of 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours takes a huge amount of staff and volunteer time each year. Give a donation, big or small, and you will directly help keep the Open House weekend free for all to visit.