Removing the barriers that prevent the creation of great places in which to live, work and play… for everyone.
Over the last 17 years, the organisation has grown from showcasing the capital’s architecture annually to research, training, advice and campaigns that impact on the whole city. It changed its name from Open House to Open-City in 2010 to reflect the scope of its work.
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Open-City has developed three strands of activity: Engagement, Education and Advocacy. Services include:
Design Review and Enabling
Open-City, through their design advocacy work provides an advisory service to key London statutory bodies such as the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Development Agency. This is also extended to developers (eg. Lend Lease) and local authorities across London. They also provide advice on art in the public realm through Art in the Open.
The London Exemplar Programme promotes design awareness for decision-makers, giving them the tools and language to make informed decisions. This involves four training and site exploration events per year and a design guidance pamphlet that is disseminated to all London planning councillors and participants in the programme.
Open-City runs three educational programmes: My City Too, Junior Open House and Open Up. In 2008, My City Too worked with over 100 young people aged 12 – 19, produced 45 ambassadors covering 16 London Boroughs and presented a manifesto to the London Mayoral Candidates at the GLA as well as 20 Local Authorities.
Junior Open House and Open Up worked with 2000 children, 60 teachers and 60 architects. 60 school visits were made to over 50 buildings. Each programme included 4 inset sessions with teachers and architects and 30 classroom workshops, concluding with a competition and inter-school awards event.
Exhibitions and Debate
Open-City invites young design teams to take part in a ‘Green Sky Thinking’ Debate in Pecha Kucha style. As part of this programme, architects in the capital invite public and professionals into their studios to reveal their ideas and approaches to designing a greener world, entitled Green Sky Studios. Includes displays of models, plans and drawings as well as demonstrations, in-house talks, Q and As, exhibitions and debates.
The Open House London Annual Event is the capital’s highest-profile architectural showcase, providing opportunities for people to explore more than 700 of London’s exemplary buildings and to meet the architects, design teams and building users on site. Celebrating design excellence in the capital, this unparalleled event attracts 350,000 visits and has inspired similar programmes in New York and Dublin.
The Open-City political debate on 25 March 2010 was a chance to hear what Ed Vaizey and Margaret Hodge had to say about architectural policy. View a summary of the debate or watch the full debate on Youtube.
Research and Resources
Open-City produces Architect and Teacher manuals for school design as well as ‘Learning by Design’ publications that highlight exemplary design in educational institutions.
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In 2011/12 Open-City:
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