Open House London 2014 runs from 20-21 September. We’ve hand-picked the top 10 buildings in Kensington and Chelsea from the historic Brompton Cemetery Chapel to the former residence of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne. Words by Gabby Werre
Memorials, historic monuments and departed souls fill this 40 acre, 1840s Victorian-style cemetery. Benjamin Baud, the architect on the property and former assistant in the remodelling of Windsor Castle, designed the layout symmetrically on flat ground. The space includes a circular enclosure accompanied by colonnades, which houses catacombs below. In the centre of the plan sits an octagonal Anglican chapel, displaying unique arcading. Being the only cemetery owned by the Crown and managed by The Royal Parks, this beautifully designed architecture deserves to be visited.
Open 1pm-5pm on both days. Old Brompton Road SW5 or Fulham Road SW10 9UG
Calling this architecturally advanced space a ‘house’ just does not do it justice: the 2,600 sq ft property started out as a large back garden of 600 sq ft, but as a result of Hogarth Architect’s ingenious work, the family home has expanded by a whopping 400%. Equipped with multiple floors, a generous-sized basement, a night-club dance floor wrapping around the courtyard and a waterfall, it’s the dream house which you’ve always thought of. Amidst the fun and games, there is a fair share of sustainable features, including an air source heat pump, photovoltaics, super-insulation and water recycling. Unfortunately you can’t stay for the night, but you can have a firsthand look for free; it’s basically like you were personally invited over for a dinner party, minus the dinner.
Open 10am-6pm on Sunday. 39 Russell Garden Mews W14 8EU
The former home to Fredric, Lord Leighton, President of the Royal Academy and classical painter, is a true testament to his artistically lavish character. The 19th century palace has an impeccable Arab hall that ties in many cultural attributes, such as the Isnik tiles and a gold coated mosaic frieze scene illustrating mythological stories. The interiors of the Leighton House are stunningly impressive and ornate; visiting this property will make you feel like you are a Lord.
Open 10am-5.30pm on both days. 12 Holland Park Road W14 8LZ.
Saatchi Gallery has been completely transformed from an old drill hall, known as Duke of York’s HQ, into its rawest, cleanest form. The simplicity of the crisp white paint that dresses the walls expands the space of each gallery room, thus concentrating on the art itself. The idea behind the minimalistic gallery was to display the art against a muted palette rather than diverting the eyes to the busyness of the aesthetics. Consequently, the ambiance is clean, geometrically sound and all about the art. The beauty isn’t in the walls at Saatchi Gallery, it’s on the walls.
Open 10am-6pm on both days. Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY, London, England
This Grade II* listed architecture, formerly occupied by an 1805 gunpowder store, is truly an inimitable and artistic experience. Zaha Hadid’s individualistic transparent extension completes the neo-classical style of the main building. As Serpentine’s second installation situated in Kensington Gardens, exhibitions and events will spread across both galleries and into the gardens giving viewers an all-encompassed experience.
Open 10am-6pm on both days. West Carriage Drive, Kensington Gardens W2 2AR
Resting on 42 acres of land is the prestigious private members’ club, The Hurlingham Club. The estate was redesigned by George Byfield in 1797-8 to add to the already impressive villa that Dr. William Cadogan built in 1760. The aesthetics of this gorgeous neoclassical Georgian style manor are as rich as its history. With a pedimented colonnade supported by Corinthian style pilasters, the architecture expands over three storeys, carrying extra side wings. A quintessentially traditional and stunning building, this mansion is definitely awe-inspiring.
Tours take place at 11am and 3pm on Saturday. Ranelagh Gardens SW6 3PR
Fashion company Monsoon Accessorize is headquartered in this fine architectural space. The most impressive, and perhaps most powerful aspect of this building is the top-lit atrium and openly descending staircase. The 15,000 sq m, seven-layered structure is large enough to accommodate full-sized replicas of the store. The contemporary building is the first of many commercial spaces being added at Notting Dale Village.
Open 10am-1pm on Sunday. 1 Nicholas Road W11 4AN
This is a fantastic opportunity to check out parts of the V&A that are usually not accessible to the public. Even if you are already familiar with the history and richness of the museum, there is still plenty more to see. One of the gallery projects available to you is the furniture gallery by NORD Architecture.
Open 11am-5pm on Saturday. Cromwell Road SW7 2RL
Kick your shoes off – they honestly don’t allow shoes – and take a gander inside the 3Floor-In2 Apartment, an individualistic and original building. The design has united two existing flats with a new rising staircase in-between three levels, and a tall atrium that dramatically opens up the apartment.
Open 3pm-6pm. 17 Elgin Crescent W11 2JD
Formerly the home of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his family and their live-in servants from 1875, 18 Stafford Terrace remains a chief example of a late Victorian-style townhouse, having been preserved by family members in the intervening years since Sambourne’s death . One distinctive feature of the residence is the presence of Chinese, Japanese and Middle-Eastern culture, influenced by the ‘Aesthetic Movement’ that encouraged the use of foreign ornamentation. Complete with five floors, the family house maintains that homely feel as the original contents still sit on the shelves and hang on the walls. Built in 1871 by Joseph Gordon Davis, the well-preservation of this exquisite middle-class home could put us all to shame!
Open 10.30am-5pm on Saturday. 18 Stafford Terrace W8 7BH
For further information, visit openhouselondon.org.uk