Friday 19 September 2008

Open House (1): a look back

This weekend is one of my favourites of the year: Open House Weekend, when all sorts of London buildings open their doors to the public. In anticipation, here are a couple of local buildings I've visited in previous years.

Ben Pimlott Building (Will Alsop, 2005) is a striking feature of New Cross Road, and part of Goldsmiths College. It's named for the late Professor Ben Pimlott, a leading historian of the Labour movement and warden of Goldsmiths, who died the year before it opened. Visiting meant not only getting inside a local landmark, but also enjoying some amazing views over Deptford, New Cross and beyond.

The Stone House in Lewisham is very different. It hides modestly behind its walls; within is a stunning eighteenth-century home. Architect George Gibson designed it for himself, and without a client to please could produce a fairly eccentric combination of grand pillared, plastered porticos and rough stone walls; a square body with tall curved bays; and a cupola. Pevsner describes it as 'a very personal interpretation of the villa form'.

Just two out of the thousands to choose from each year: it's well worth browsing the Open House website to find more local gems.

For all Open House posts, click here.

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