Its that time of year again when the great and good buildings of London open their doors for he architecturally minded to nose about. Open House London Weekend is this weekend 19th and 20th September. For those of a modernist persuasion there is more than ever too see. All the usual big names are open; Highpoint, Willow Road, Senate House, Alexandra Road, Daimler Garage, Finsbury Health Centre, Priory Green, Trellick Tower etc.
Of course you wish to venture further afield and see some of suburbia modernist and art deco delights. Again there are plenty of hidden gems to keep your Oyster card topped up for. If the golden age of the silver screen is your thing you can visit the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley, Muswell Hill Odeon, Tooting Granada, Kilburn Gaumont State or the Woolwich Granada. If you feel like going back to school you can take your pencil case to Drake & Lasdun’s Hallfield Primary, Hugh Myddleton School by Julian Soafer, Erno Goldfinger’s Greenside Primary or the moderne Uphall Primary in Ilford. More learning can be had at Basil Spence’s Swiss Cottage Library or Fullwell Cross Library by Frederick Gibberd. Another library on a smaller scale but no less heroic, is Verity-Jane Keefe’s Mobile Museum celebrating Barking’s housing estates.
For the more religious minded there are plenty of options. Opening to view are Mitcham Methodist by E.D. Mills, the Wanstead Quaker meeting house by Norman Frith or Mcguire & Murray’s St Paul's Bow Common, recently voted the best post war church in Britain. Of course it is Open “House” weekend and there are plenty of homes to go snooping through. In terms of social housing, apart from the examples listed earlier, there is Peter Tabori’s Stoneleigh Terrace in Camden or Eric Lyon’s World's End estate in Chelsea. For private housing you can see Pullman Court by Gibberd, 31b St Marys Road by Foggo & Thomas, Geoffrey Darke’s Darke House or St Bernards Houses in Croydon by Swiss post war architects Atelier 5. If self building is your thing there you can visit Segal Close and Walters Way, projects designed by and named after Walter Segal, or the Segal influenced Greenstreet housing in Lewisham.
If you dont want to fit into any of these preconceived boxes, there are a few buildings that may suit you. Harefield Hospital in Hillingdon by WT Curtis contains a curved moderne TB sanatorium from 1937. The iconic 1931 art deco Walthamstow Stadium is due to be redeveloped soon, so catch it while you can. Another building being redeveloped is Charles Holden’s 55 Broadway, originally built as London Underground's HQ and soon to be turned into apartments. It probably won't quite be warm enough for a dip, but you can see Uxbridge Lido in its refurbished glory. Originally built in an art deco style in 1935, it was reopened in 2010. For those who prefer a bit a of brutalism, the Embassy of the Slovak Republic designed by Czech architects Jan Sramek, Jan Bocan and Karel Stepansky in 1965,may be of interest.
This year sees the return of Harrow to Open House London, as there are a number of interesting buildings to see in the home of Metro-Land. There is an opportunity to explore two great buildings right next to each other in Rayners Lane, the Tube Station by Charles Holden and Reginald Uren, and opposite the Grosvenor Cinema by FE Bromige (now The Zoroastrian Centre.). Kenton Library by the MCC architects Curtis and Burchett will be open on Saturday for those wanting to see a great example of Middlesex interwar modernism. For those who want see to see Metro-Lands mix of Art Deco and Tudorbeathen, the Canons Park Estate tour on Sunday is for you. Two post war projects we mentioned in our overview of the boroughs architects department recently (In House Part 2) can be seen, the Grange Farm Estate and Harrow Civic Centre.
And last but not least, our own walking tour, of Stanmore’s art deco and modernist houses featuring buildings by Gerald Lacoste, Douglas Wood, Owen Williams, Rudolf Frankel and more, will take place on Saturday. There will be two tours, at 10am and 2pm, on a first come basis. More details here.
A special mention goes to architect Reginald Uren. Not as feted as his contemporaries like Charles Holden and George Coles, nevertheless the New Zealand born architect has 4 buildings on show this year. Aside from the already mentioned Woolwich Granada and Rayners Lane Station, you can visit his Hornsey Town Hall and his house in Stanmore. Don’t forget that some of the buildings mentioned may need pre booking, so please check before you go. Wherever you end up, we hope you enjoy visiting some of London’s modernist marvels!