Open City weekend – open doors to great buildings

10 September 2018

Written by: Lambeth Council

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Open City London is the world’s greatest free architecture festival, letting people see inside the city’s best buildings. This year, Lambeth Town Hall joins the London churches, schools, windmills, factories, new-build homes and more, of all styles and periods, open to visitors.

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Open City weekend – open doors to great buildings

Lambeth Council’s new Town Hall home and the transformation of Clapham Old Town are two architectural highlights in this Year’s ‘Open City’ weekend, 22 and 23 September.

Free access to great buildings

Open City London is the world’s largest architecture festival, with free access to 800+ buildings, walks, talks and tours each year. The Open House concept has spread around the world, in over 35 cities across 5 continents. Lambeth has been involved since the start and some fascinating places are reopening their doors. These include churches, schools, windmills, factories, the National Theatre, West Norwood Cemetery, new-build homes at Sail Street, the Kia Oval, the South London Botanical Institute and many more.

Architectural gems

“Open City has drawn attention to the wealth of architectural gems that London has to offer, from historic landmarks to smaller private homes”, says Lord Foster in this year’s guide to the buildings.

Lambeth Town Hall

Lambeth Town Hall is Grade II listed, celebrated its 110th anniversary this year and reopened for business in 2018 after a two-year refurbishment. Visitors will see restored original Edwardian Baroque areas, the 1930s Assembly Hall (designed by the same architect) and modern features.

Clapham Old Town & Venn Street

In 2007, Lambeth Council appointed a design team to explore changing the public realm in Clapham Old Town (starting with Venn Street) to focus on walkers and cyclists, and worked with TfL to realise it. The area now features 100+ new trees, 20mph traffic zones, a street market, outdoor cafes and wall-mounted street signs.

Open City Lambeth Highlights

The Open City guidebook picks out 66 highlight buildings across London for 2018. In Lambeth, they shortlist:

  • Beaufoy – Diamond Way Buddhist Centre, Kennington – built in 1907 as a school for underprivileged children and a Buddhist Centre since 2014.
  • Wheatsheaf Hall Community Centre, Wheatsheaf Lane, Stockwell SW8 – Grade II Victorian Mission Hall, now a volunteer-run Community Centre.

More information

  • To book a tour of the Town Hall see our events pages 
  • For a full guide to every building you can visit – in Lambeth and all over London – pick up a free guide from local libraries or go online to Open House’s information pages. You can search for buildings you want to see borough by borough, by architectural style or period, or browse their recommendations.