Open House London: 5 hidden wonders to discover

From curving ‘sun rain rooms’ to an urban oasis

Few initiatives have given Londoners more insight into their city than Open House. Over the past 26 years, the annual event has transformed our understanding of contemporary design, offering up a feast of ideas while inducing unavoidable twinges of envy. Architects have taken to the scheme with gusto, opening up their own studios in addition to showcasing favoured projects, while many of the capital’s unseen and off-limits places also open their doors for this one weekend. Here’s our guide to some of the Open House London gems of 2018.

Sun Rain Rooms, by Tonkin Liu

Open House London 2018 preview: Sun Rain Rooms
Photography: Edmund Sumner

Domestic in scale and location, the Sun Rain Rooms transform the rear of a conventional townhouse into a curvaceous modernist retreat, with swooping walls, a green roof and a deep basement. A pool is the finishing touch, creating a refuge of calm contemplation in the heart of the city. 5 Wilmington Square, WC1X 0ES

15 Clerkenwell Close, by Groupwork + Amin Taha

Open House London 2018 preview: 15 Clerkenwell Close
Photography: Timothy Soar

Groupwork + Amin Taha’s office building at Clerkenwell Close has stirred up local controversy. Playfully postmodern in its use of rough and smooth stone, with artfully propped bits of stray masonry, the office block raised residents’ ire, caused a minor planning kerfuffle and won an entirely undeserved nomination for the Carbuncle Cup. Thoughtful and finely crafted, it deserves a closer look during Open House London. 15A Clerkenwell Close, EC1R 0AA

Waterloo City Farm, by Feilden Fowles

Open House London 2018 preview: Waterloo City Farm courtesy of Feilden Fowles
Oasis Farm Waterloo, courtesy of Feilden Fowles

Young practice Feilden Fowles stumbled on inner-city gold with this site, barely 500m from the Houses of Parliament. The firm has inserted their own elegant timber-framed studio into this modest South London location, alongside educational buildings and Dan Pearson-designed gardens for Jamie’s Farm and the Oasis Community Hub. It offers tranquil respite during Open House London and hectic London Design Festival schedules. 8 Royal Street, SE1 7LL

Black Stone House, by 6a Architects

Open House London 2018 preview: Back Stone House by 6a Architects
Photography: Johan Dehlin

6a Architects’s pared-down materiality is fast becoming the de facto style of mindful modern London, skilfully blending the city’s historic patina with calm, muted interventions that enhance everyday life. Three apartments are contained within this stacked monolith, with an abstract stucco façade giving the impression of time-worn familiarity. 155 Wilberforce Rd, N4 2SX

Crossfield Street, by Jonathan Pile


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This modest new house takes traditional methods – timber framing and cladding – and treats them in a very contemporary way. Pile, a director at Oval Architects, built the lightweight structure for his own family, making the most of a neglected site and ensuring high environmental performance is baked in from the start. 1 Crossfield Street, SE8 3PH

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