Explore Hackney's architecture in Open House London

London's largest annual festival of architecture returns this weekend with over 40 Hackney buildings to visit

FROM sustainable theatres and restored almshouses, to mosques and recycled tube train carriages, London’s largest annual festival of architecture returns with the chance to visit 750 buildings for free – of which over 40 are in Hackney.

Open House London was created in 1992 to promote public awareness of the capital’s architecture. This year’s festival is set to take place over the weekend of 17 and 18 September.

The theme is ‘Equitable City’, a reference to the belief that all of London’s citizens have a stake in the design and maintenance of their built environment.

Rory Olcayto, Open-City’s Director, said: “Open House gives Londoners the chance to explore the city’s great buildings and places that are usually off-limits.

“From contemporary private homes to super-tall skyscrapers as well as hidden gems you didn’t know were there, nothing is off-limits during this annual weekend festival.”

In Hackney, the festival includes Canopy House, N16, a modern conversion of a Victorian house, featuring a black brick rear extension with an oak clad canopy and window seat.

The White Building, E9, (pictured below) once a disused print works, is now a multifunctional space with views of the Olympic Park. Some of its significant features include nets of sheep wool suspended from ceilings, a restaurant and brewery.

The borough’s haven for wildlife, Woodberry Wetlands, N16, is new this year, having only been open since May. It features reed-fringed ponds and a reservoir with cafe.

Described as ‘the perfect example of Edwardian variety theatre remaining in London’, Hackney Empire, E8, has a Grade II* listed auditorium and has undergone restorations to the interiors and back stage areas.

Meanwhile, 2008 RIBA-winner Rivington Place, EC2A, which houses African art and architecture alongside contemporary music and art, is also listed.

Hackney’s hidden gem, Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, E8, which was created on an abandoned railway, allows the public a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, and features a large wooden pavilion and biodiversity planting.

Haggerston School, E2, is a Grade II listed building in the brutalist style using blockish brickwork, timber, and glass. It was designed by modernist architect Erno Goldfinger in the early 1960s.

While Shoreditch Town Hall, EC1V, is another magnificent Grade II listed building featuring a rabbit warren of basement rooms.

The former broadcast and press centres in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Here East, will also be open for tours, describing itself as London's 'home for making: an innovative digital and creative campus'.

Finally, walking tours this year, start at Murray Grove, N1, and end at Whitmore Road, N1, taking in Hackney’s cluster of three significant timber-framed buildings.