King’s College, The Maughan Library
I have always looked forward to the annual Open house weekend in London, last year, I managed to book and visit some amazing places like the Lancaster House, Commonwealth Institute ( before the renovation to turn it into the new Design Museum) and the Oak room at the New Riverhead etc. This year, due to an exceptional high demand, the website crashed as soon as booking began and then it was turned into a ballot system.
Royal Courts of Justice
Is there a reason for this sudden popularity this year? Is the public more interested in architecture? Or maybe people are just taking advantage of another free event? Whatever the reason, I think the organisers need to consider hosting this more than just once a year!
Luckily, besides the popular ones that required pre-booking, there were still many interesting and historical places that were open for all. I had always wanted to visit the Royal Courts of Justice and this gave me an excuse to go for the first time ( without looking too much like a tourist), as well as the nearby Maughan Library ( part of King’s college).
Golden Lane estate near Barbican
Interior of a flat at the Golden Lane estate
I was fortunate enough to get a successful application through ballot system, which was a tour of a flat at the Golden Lane Estate, another place where I had wanted to visit for a long time. This 1950s council estate is Grade 2 listed and has been much sought after in the recent years. This modernist style estate reminded me very much of Alvar Aalto‘s house in Helsinki that I visiteda few weeks ago, esp. the functionality of the interior and the use of light. The estate also have facilities such as leisure centre, nursery, pub, shops, tennis courts and even a community website that keeps the residents updated on events within the estate. If I have to interpret David Cameron‘s “big society”, I assume this would be close to his ideal “society”.
My friend and I also took the opportunity to visit the nearby Guildhall school of music and drama, going backstage and watching the students rehearsed for their upcoming play. It was great fun.
I simply cannot believe we will have to wait another year for this event to repeat!
Guildhall school of music and drama