• You are here: News

Open House 2023 highlights: the top 10 must-see buildings in London

Open House, the free two-week festival of London’s architectural heritage, has unveiled its line-up of buildings opening their doors to the public from 6 to 17 September

Highlights of the annual event, which allows rare access to new and old architecture in all of London’s 33 boroughs, include the BT Tower, 10 Downing Street, and the under-construction new London Museum.

Other landmarks opening for free to the public include Acland Burghley School by Howell, Killick, Partridge & Amis Architects; the Isokon Building (Lawn Road Flats) by Wells Coates and the RCKa-designed Nourish Hub.

The full listing can be seen here.


This year Open City held an open call for architects – judged by AJ technical editor and deputy architecture editor Fran Williams – for architects to participate as ‘Design Partners’ in London’s Open House Festival 2023.

The five winners – Bikeworks by Foster Kirk Architects, Hackney School of Food by Surman Weston, Phoenix Garden by Office Sian, The Africa Centre by Freehaus and Nag’s Head Market by Office S&M – will feature in a special collection alongside the other open call finalists.

Founded in 1992, the Open House Festival typically sees around 250,000 people engage with London’s most compelling architecture, heritage and communities. This year’s festival will run for two weeks from 6 to 17 of September.

The 2023 Open House Festival comes a year after the 30th anniversary of its parent charity, Open City, which runs a year-round programme of educational activities, films, tours, and the weekly The Brief podcast, produced in association with the AJ.

Ten highlights from the 2023 Open House Festival

Winscombe Street

Source:Image by Jim Osley

Winscombe Street

Winscombe Street 1960s terrace, N19

Terrace of five three-storey houses and a studio incorporating a sequence of communal and private spaces. Designed by Neave Brown, it is an influential prototype for Camden social housing developments of the 1960s and 70s.
Balloted tours on Sunday 17 September


The Africa Centre

Source:Image by Taran Wilkhu

The Africa Centre

The Africa Centre, SE1

A 1960s former office block that has been transformed by Freehaus into a vibrant cultural hub showcasing the best of contemporary African culture and heritage. This project is supported by the Mayor of London.
Workshop on Saturday 9 September, ticketed tours on Tuesday 12 September and drop-in visits on Sunday 17 September

Alton Estate

Source:Image by Merlin Fulcher

Alton Estate

Alton Estate, SW15

Alton Estate is renowned for its mix of high-rise Le Corbusian architecture in Alton West and its low-rise Scandinavian approach to modernism in Alton East. Designed by London County Council architects and completed in 1959.
Drop-in events plus a walk and talk on Saturday 16 September

Nag's Head Market

Source:Image by Jim Stephenson

Nag's Head Market

Nag’s Head Market, N7

Nag’s Head Market has occupied its current site since 1975, and it has recently been overhauled by Office S&M to support its diverse traders that cater for the local community.
Drop-in and ticket tours on Sunday 17 September

Source:Image by Diamond Geezer

Lakeside Centre

Lakeside Centre, SE2

Iconic brutalist building in the heart of Thamesmead. Renovation led by Bow Arts Trust in partnership with Peabody, supported by the Mayor’s London Regeneration Fund. The Lakeside Centre has opened as a cultural hub for Thamesmead.
Drop-in for open studios on Saturday 16 September

Walmer Yard by Peter Salter. Copyright Jim Stephenson 2019

Walmer Yard, W11

Forming a discreet and private set of four interlocking houses set around an open courtyard, Walmer Yard is Peter Salter’s only UK project. The houses now form the home of the Baylight Foundation.
Drop-in from Thursday 14 September to Sunday 17 September

Kenworthy Road

Source:Image by Alexander Hills

Kenworthy Road

Kenworthy Road, E9

This is a new self-build house by two architect friends, Anthony Engi Meacock and Alexander Hills, on a narrow infill site within a late Victorian terrace.
Drop-in and ticketed tours on Friday 8 September and Saturday 9 September

East Greenwich Fire Station

Source:Image by Stephen Craven

East Greenwich Fire Station

East Greenwich Fire Station, SE7

This fire station in East Greenwich was opened in 1985 and designed by Jack Lambert and Peter Smith of the Greater London Council. It is constructed in steel and brick infill, with curved bays and a bright red finish. A new edition to the festival.
Drop-in open day on Saturday 9 September

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Source:Image by N Chadwick

Tower Hamlets Town Hall

Tower Hamlets Town Hall, E1

The recently completed Tower Hamlets Town Hall by AHMM has become the new headquarters for the east London local authority. It includes the restoration of the Grade II-listed former Royal London Hospital building and the addition of a new build extension.
Drop-in visits on Saturday 9 September and Sunday 10 September and Saturday 16 September and Sunday 17 September

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, SE24

Source:Image by Francesco Russo

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, SE24

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, SE24

198CAL is a Black-led and owned visual arts organisation. The venue will be offering tours of this RIBA and AJ Retrofit award winning building. Carver Haggard Architects will be on hand to discuss the design and construction process. There will also be curator-led tours of the exhibition in the gallery spaces. This project is supported by the Mayor of London.
Guided tours on Saturday 16 September

You might also be interested in…

Leave a comment

or a new account to join the discussion.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.