Top 10 most visited buildings for Open House London 2018 announced


This year’s Open House London may have been the wettest ever, but torrential rain didn’t stop Londoners visiting their favourite buildings, with over 300,000 visits made to the 800+ venues open during the two-day September weekend event.

Once again, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office topped the Open House charts, with 12,720 visitors over the two days (22-23 Sep), knocking 22 Whitehall, with 7,000, and Banqueting House, with just over 5,500 into second and third place. Only two modern buildings made the top ten most visited with RSHP’s Cheesegrater skyscraper and Foster + Partners’ Battersea headquarters flying the flag for popular, contemporary architecture this year.

The top ten most visited buildings were:
Foreign & Commonwealth Office - 12,720
22 Whitehall - 7,000
Banqueting House - 5,687
Leadenhall Building - 4,548
Royal Courts of Justice - 4,500
Guildhall Art Gallery - 4,493
Foster + Partners - 4,000
Leighton House Museum - 3,564
HM Treasury - 3,558
Spencer House - 3,347

For only the second time in Open House’s history, every London borough participated, with Westminster, the busiest local authority and home to the three most visited buildings, logging 79.3K visits, more than a quarter of this year’s total.

The app was downloaded 38,000 times, the guide had a print run of 100,000 and an advertising campaign on the London Underground network was posted at 1,207 stations, reaching 4.3m people.

This year’s event received 128 articles in the press with 22 in national papers, and a ten minute feature on the BBC Travel Show. Robert Elms on his BBC London show hosted architects Roz Barr, Simon Henley (whose student housing at Roehampton was Stirling-shortlisted this year) and RSHP partner Tracy Meller.

In a partnership with the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, Open House and Open House Families hosted a series of child-friendly workshops and activities at venues across the vast West London site.

This year the Open House weekend was supported by 1,843 volunteers, the biggest ever cohort (with three quarters of them London-based).

Themes proved popular, and included New London which focused on new and emerging pieces of city (from Wembley Park to OPDC to Wickside in East London), and Equality Street which highlighted female architects designing London today, with 12,000 visits logged to the women-designed buildings highlighted in the listings.

Said Open House director Rory Olcayto:
“Every year Open House celebrates London’s incredible architecture - the old, the new, the odd and the typical and much else in-between - providing a snapshot of the city and its ever-morphing design. It’s a genuinely collective endeavor that brings Londoners together, no matter who they are. This year our focus on New London – the new districts emerging in the capital – and the women designing the emerging skyline, gave our audience that extra level of insight into their city.”


"Open House weekend has been such a revelation! The breadth of buildings this year was better than ever. I saw the newly refurbed Royal Opera House and was astounded by the staff and volunteers who had given up their time to showcase the architecture to its fullest potential. Open House has taught me how important good design is for citymaking and bringing communities together.” Visitor to Royal Opera House

“I believe Open House to be one of the most positive ways in which the general public can engage with good design; and where they can experience first hand, extraordinary buildings and see the breadth of possibilities afforded by working with imaginative and creative designers.” Terry Pawson, architect

“This event has helped me to take more notice of buildings, design and development although I don't have any direct knowledge. It has raised my interest in other types of these events and, although I do not live in London, I have recently booked to attend a lecture on housing development in London” From Open House Visitor Survey

Notes to editors:

  • Open House 2019, the 28th edition of the world’s largest architecture festival, will take place 21-22 September 2019

  • Open House Families 2019, the second edition of our child-friendly design activities festival will take place June 22-23 2019

  • Open House is a concept that was created in 1992 by Open-City, London’s leading independent architecture education organisation.

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Press information: Annie Simpson on 020 7383 2131 or (contact details not for publication)

Partners: Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation
Media Partners: Dezeen, Timeout, BBC Radio London
Supporters & Sponsors: AKT II, AKDN, Art Fund, Barking Riverside, BUJ, Clarion, Foster & Partners, Margaret Howell, Quintain, Vocal Eyes
Open City Supporters: Derwent, Rocket Properties, AHMM, Jackson Coles, Elliot Wood, Peabody


Read our full review here