Wednesday Picture: Open House 2013

Battersea Power Station_ext_HR  1024This weekend is Open House where the public are unleashed on 830 of London’s coolest buildings and private houses. Sarah Fox picks some south London highlights

This year celebrates architect Richard Rogers‘ birthday with his company, Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, opening more buildings than ever before. Also on the bill: the last chance to see Battersea Power Station before it’s turned into luxury flats, and a tour of Gothic Norwood cemetery.

ICE tours on Emirates Air Line or boat trips, Greenwich & SE1

Construction of The Emirates Airline, a cable car crossing of the ThamesIt’s not just buildings that are on show, take a ride on the Emirates Air Line, the cable car that crosses high above the Thames. (It was a favourite spot of our recent fire-breathing Southsayer, Paul Holloway.) For this weekend only, the cars will be manned by experts from the Institute of Civil Engineering (ICE) who will enlighten passengers on the structure’s civil engineering achievements. Play eye spy and look out for the Antony Gormley’s sculpture. Fancy finding out about London’s engineering heritage? You can also hop onto an ICE-hosted boat from Festival Pier and geek up with the experts.

Emirates Air Line, Meet at Emirates Greenwich Peninsula, Emirates SE10 0FR. Sat tours at 10am, 11am, 12noon. Pre-book ONLY by email on Max 18 per tour. ICE boat tours, Departs: Sat 11am & 1pm from Festival Pier SE1 8XZ. First come basis. Max 110 per tour. Arrive in good time to board, departures are prompt 


22 Weardale Road, Lewisham

22weardaleHead to this three-bedroom house in Lewisham for Grand Designs style snooping. Bucking the traditional quadrilateral shape for a house, this triangular, three-storey building juts from a row of terraced dwellings. The contemporary pad, with views across southeast London’s dinky Quaggy river and a roof garden, really stands out. It was designed by the architect Stephen Davies, of 31/44 Architecture as an affordable way of building his own home. The unusual shape is a result of the difficult plot on which the house is built: it was a leftover piece of flood-risk land at the end of a terraced row and, as such, the ground floor is set half a metre above pavement level. Davies has also maximised light and space and views in this unconventional house, which is well worth a snoop.

22 Weardale Road SE13 5QB, Sat 10am-5pm. First come basis. Last entry 4.45pm. Max 10 at one time


Connearn Studio

Connearn Exterior 02Pop into this art studio with a green conscience – it is a very cool building. Mostly made from renewable or recycled materials, the studio aims to inspire residents with its design to reflect natural light and garden surroundings. It gets bonus points for its the cuddly name of the street it’s in (which, you may remember, also featured in our guide to Deptford).

4 Friendly Street SE8 4DT. Sat 10am-5pm/Sun 1pm-5pm. Max 6 at one time. Last entry 4.45pm


West Norwood Cemetery & Greek Chapel

kotomi_norwoodThe sun has gone into hibernation and the next event to celebrate is Hallowe’en. So why not get into the spirit with a tour of this architecturally significant south London cemetery, which a staggering 69 listed buildings and structures, including the dedicated Greek Orthodox necropolis that is part of this tour. Along with Nunhead, and north London’s perhaps better-known Highgate Cemetery, West Norwood’s burial ground is one of the “Magnificent Seven” metropolitan lawn cemeteries of the Victorian era… And rumour has it the railings were built high to dispel fears of Victorian body snatchers.

Meet: Sun 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm at the cemetery gate, Norwood Rd SE27 9JU. 90 mins


Battersea Power Station

Open House marks the last chance for mere mortals to have a nose around the iconic Battersea Power Station. The long debated fate of this major South London landmark ended with the big wigs signing it off to developers for fancy flats. Built in 1931, at its peak it powered over one fifth of London. Hear more facts like this on the weekend tours.

Battersea Power Station, Sat/Sun 11am-4pm First come basis Access via new power station park: approaching from Chelsea, cross over Chelsea Bridge and proceed down the stairs on the left SW8 5BN

Night Tour, various riverside destinations

1006297_482275095198744_1705657914_nLondon’s night-time skyline has the wow factor. Buildings are lit up and the grey tinge disappears. So why not join the 15 mile Maggie’s Culture Crawl night hike which weaves through not only south but also north London’s landmarks? (And you can see more north London Open House highlights hereCheck out North London’s top 5 picks here. (Link.).) See the Foreign Office, London Eye and john Soanes Museum in a new, darker light. Cups of tea and performances from musicians, dancers and artists will be sure to hot up the atmosphere en route.

Visit or call 0300 123 1801 for details

For London-wide Open House highlights, head to north London’s Kentishtowner, and design blog, Your Home is Lovely for more of our tips

Words: Sarah Fox

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