Our 2021 London Open House Highlights

Our 2021 London Open House Highlights

London Open House Highlights

London’s Open House festival 2021, which sees architectural sites from houses, to pumping stations open their doors to the public, runs from Saturday 4th September to Sunday 12th September. Here we have picked out some highlights from the programme, with some help from our London map editors Mark Ovenden (London Underground Architecture & Design Map) and Owen Hopkins (Nicholas Hawksmoor London Map). Our maps are the ideal companion to your Open House tour, see below which buildings feature on which maps – from Brutalist, Art Deco and London Underground maps.


Royal College of Physicians, Sir Denys Lasdun

Located next to Regent’s Park, this important post-war Grade I listed building designed by Sir Denys Lasdun was opened in 1964. Featuring a white mosaic exterior and dramatic interior spaces, the design is modern in its expression, yet also harmonises with the Georgian terraces and the landscape of the park.

Featured on the Brutalist London Map, available here

Central Hill, by Rosemary Stjernstedt, Ted Hollamby, Adrian Sansom, Lambeth Borough Architects

Built in 1963, this tree-lined housing estate in Crystal Palace combines open spaces, views of the city and gardens to forge a sense of community. “Central Hill is a really interesting and pioneering estate, which is scandalously at grave risk of demolition” – Owen Hopkins

Baker Street Complex, Sir John Fowler

Completed in 1863, Baker Street was one of the stations on the world's first subterranean metro line. Look out for the original iron gates (topped with a clock) between the Circle/H&C and Metropolitan platforms. Then, deeper in the tube lines below, both the Bakerloo and Jubilee lines are adorned by ceramic tiles carrying the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes designed by Michael Douglas.

“From the surface you might think that nothing exists of the original 1863 Metropolitan Line station at Baker Street, yet due to a major refurbishment in 1983, that saw original features preserved and restored, Baker Street perhaps has the most accurate resemblance of how the station may have appeared when first opened in the Victorian steam era.” – Mark Ovenden

Featured on the London Underground Architecture & Design Map, available here


Trellick Tower, Ernö Goldfinger

This monumental 31-storey residential tower built in 1972 is located on the Cheltenham Estate in Ladbroke Grove, west London. Other buildings on the estate are set for redevelopment, so tours of this site are a chance to explore the estate before some parts are demolished including a block of garages and a renowned graffiti art wall. (Photograph by Simon Phipps.)

Featured on the Brutalist London Map, available here


Reform Club on Pall Mall

Inspired by Italian Renaissance palaces, this former Whig gentleman’s club features interesting architectural elements such as a tunnelled staircase, and a colonnaded courtyard with a glazed roof and tessellated floor. “It is an amazing place to visit and rarely accessible to non-members” – Owen Hopkins


Senate House

Featuring Classical and Art Deco design elements, the Grade II* listed Senate House opened in 1937. Back then, it was London’s tallest secular building. The Portland stone-clad building is 210 feet high and has 19 floors. Originally designed as the University of London headquarters, it was also home to the Ministry of Information during WWII. (Photograph by Simon Phipps.)

Featured on the Art Deco London Map, available here.

St Anne’s, Limehouse, Nicholas Hawksmoor

Consecrated in 1730, St Anne's Limehouse is a masterpiece of English Baroque architecture. The Grade I listed church was one of 12 churches built during the reign of Queen Anne, to meet the congregational demands of the growing city of London. Nicholas Hawksmoor’s design included contrasts of light and shade, oversized Classical elements and an eclectic tower. (Photograph by Nigel Green.)

Featured on the Nicholas Hawksmoor London Map, available here.

South Norwood Library, Hugh Lea

Built in 1968 and designed by Croydon borough architect Hugh Lea, this concrete library is demonstrative of the architectural expertise of the Greater London Council at the time. Generous upper storey windows bring in lots of natural light, and there is a cosy children’s library. Croydon Council recently announced plans to relocate the library to a new site, and the community is currently campaigning to let it remain. (Photograph by Jo Underhill.)

Previous story: Explore the best of Prague's 20th century architecture