New London Architecture

Support Open House for an opening London

Monday 24 August 2020

Charles Begley

Charles Begley

Executive Director, City & Westminster Property Associations

In just under a month this year’s Open House festival curated by the excellent charity Open City, will showcase a weekend of our great city’s buildings and open spaces to the public. The founding principles of the event are to make London a more accessible, equitable and open city, and last year more than 250,000 curious visitors took a peek around 800 buildings and locations.

The built environment has an incredible power to excite and enthral, be it due to scale and feats of engineering, fascinating history or simply sublime beauty. It forms the very fabric of a city and how we all work, live and play.

This year the festival takes on an added significance. The normally bustling streets of the City and West End have been largely deserted for months. Offices have been locked and countless businesses, which depend on the 1million+ daily workers in the districts, face an uncertain future. For every 100 office workers up to 18 jobs in retail and leisure are created and sustained in shops, bars, restaurants, cultural institutions and leisure.

These workers have played their full part in helping London become the global city it is today.  Combined the City of London and Westminster generate £124billion in GVA annually, accounting for more than 30% of London’s economy and contributing to the nation’s prosperity.

New Scotland Yard
Companies have used our capital’s competitive advantage through the agglomeration of skills and talent, attracted by all that London has to offer, to great effect. As much as commuting pains us all, that competitive advantage cannot be replicated on the internet.

This year’s Open House London is therefore more important than ever and will remind people just how incredible London is. 

As London cautiously recovers and we all grapple with new ways of working, Open House London will help us celebrate the architecture and open spaces which underpin its appeal. Clearly it will be a very different way of celebrating this year given the circumstances, but the festival’s organisers are open to innovative ideas and are being as flexible as possible to accommodate participation and a hybrid of virtual access and physical events. Some plan to show groups of disadvantaged children around their buildings. Some are showing areas usually off limits, others are holding talks and tours in spaces already open to the public. But all want to shine a light on what they do, attracting new audiences and reconnecting with existing ones.

London has faced crises throughout its long history, and emerged even stronger. The city’s layers of history and soaring skyline will continue to enthral people across the UK and all over the world. Let’s remind them how amazing London is and embrace this year’s festival.
 



Charles Begley

Charles Begley

Executive Director, City & Westminster Property Associations


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