Open House London 2012

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Crossness Engines

Marking its twentieth anniversary in 2012, Open House London, the hugely popular, capital-wide annual festival to celebrate the impact architecture can have on all our lives, takes place over the weekend of September 22 and 23. It allows access to hundreds of buildings – private homes, workplaces, government buildings, historical sites, educational establishments and many others – that are not normally open to the public. But that's not all. There are also walking and jogging tours, cycle rides, talks, competitions and family activities. The London Night Hike on September 21, a fundraiser for Maggie's Cancer Caring Centres, is a chance to appreciate some of London's key buildings by moonlight. As you might expect, the festival offers glorious opportunities for nosy types who love the chance to poke round other people's houses, but there are also events for those who are passionate about engineering, landscape design or eco, zero-carbon and retrofit buildings. And Open-City, the charity that runs Open House, also has year-round initiatives designed to foster interest in architecture, including guided tours and visits to exciting new buildings. Of the 750 venues and events involved, the vast majority will be open to all on a walk-up basis. Around ten per cent of what's on offer requires advance booking; for details of how to book see

For our guide to Open House London 2012 see

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