Hackney's unique architecture on show for Open House London

The capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design takes place on 19 & 20 September

A GLASS-bottomed swimming pool, the UK’s first heated clay ceiling, recycled tube train carriages, and six-foot narrow boats are all featured in this year's Open House London.

The capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design takes place on 19 and 20 September, with 700 buildings and spaces opening their doors for free. Thirty eight of them will be in Hackney, along with walking tours, talks and film screenings.

Victoria Thornton, Founding Director of Open-City, the architecture education organisation behind the festival, said: “Open House is a unique and vibrant annual event, offering people across London the chance to explore and learn about the capital’s architecture. 

“In 2014, 87 per cent of participants said the event was the best way to see, explore and learn about London’s architecture. This year we’re putting together a great programme of open buildings, walks, tours and talks taking in everything from award-winning contemporary homes to major regeneration areas.”

With the average London house price topping £500,000 this year, the capital faces serious housing challenges. The festival has picked its theme of ‘revealing’ accordingly, probing potential solutions through the architecture that’s on show.

In Hackney, that includes 24 St John’s Church Road, E9, a traditional Victorian terrace with a modern renovation, featuring a green roof sown with sedum and an eco heating system. Adelaide Wharf, E2, a housing scheme which won a Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2008, is opening its doors for people to check out the ‘outdoor rooms’ in each apartment, half hung and half cantilevered out over the street. 

Last year’s Hackney Design Award-winner, Cardinal Pole Catholic School, E9, suggests innovative solutions to the challenges of a new school build on an inner-city site, while new kinds of work space are illustrated by the recycled tube carriages at Village Underground, EC2A, and co-working studios at The Lab, N1.

Walking tours, meanwhile, explore the potential posed by Hackney’s brownfield sites; its examples of timber frame buildings; and some of the borough’s solutions to the pressures on housing, public space and energy use with the Woodberry Down Estate regeneration project (pictured above). 

Click here for the full list of participating venues in Hackney.