Open House London 2023: The 3 must-see builds you can visit now

View of London
Open House London will see 100 homes open their doors to the public (Image credit: Phineas Harper)

Open House London 2023 invites you to explore the interiors of more than 100 residences over a two-week period, as a tribute to the distinctive architecture and communities that define the capital.

Whether it's innovative self build communities or acclaimed architectural wonders, you can secure tickets for guided tours or spontaneously visit homes spanning all 33 London boroughs, each with its own captivating story and the individuals behind their creation.

The Open House Festival commenced on Wednesday, September 6, and will conclude on Sunday, September 17, and the best part is it is completely free.

What is Open House London 2023?

The Open House Festival lets people peek inside some of the most interesting architectural spaces around the city, and thousands of people are expected to visit. 

For some guided tours you will need to book a spot in advance, but with drop-ins it’s a case of first come, first served. There might also be capacity maximums at any one time. 

Here are three of our must-see buildings at this year’s event:

1. Walters Way

Walters Way

This homes were built by people with little or no building experience (Image credit: Harriet Thorpe)

Walters Way is a close of 13 unique Walter Segal self build houses that were built by people with little or no building experience. 

The project was commissioned by Lewisham Council in the 1980s after the land was ruled to be unsuitable for conventional housing because of the hills and large trees in the area. 

The timber frame homes were all built using the post and beam method devised by legendary architect Walter Segal, and none of them were built on conventional foundations. 

All the houses have distinctive interiors and many have since been extended and equipped with environmentally-friendly features such as solar panels. Three of the original self builders still live in the houses.

Address: Walters Way, Honor Oak Park, SE23 3LH
Drop in dates: Sun 17 Sep, 12:30 to 18:00.

2. 13 Nubia Way 

13 Nubia Way

13 Nubia way was built as a means of giving social renters long-term housing security (Image credit: Open City)

13 Nubia Way is a timber frame home that was the overall winner of the inaugural Lewisham Homes Awards, but its significance is of much more historical importance: Nubia Way is Europe’s largest black-led community self build for rent initiative.

Tim Oshodie is the chair of Fusions Jameen, a group of tenants of short life housing who were looking for more permanent accommodation, and he will be giving an oral history of how the project came together.

Fusions helped to build Nubia Way as a means of giving social renters long-term security by allowing them to buy a stake in their housing using labour in place of cash.

Having eventually been allocated two small plots, the group built eight 2 and 3-bedroom bungalows. Learn the history behind this milestone community, as well how Nubia Way dealt with racist attacks, featuring testimony from self builders who worked on the scheme. 

Address: 13 Nubia Way, Downham, Bromley, BR1 5HY
Drop in dates: Sun 17 Sep, 11:00 to 16:00. Visitors can arrive at any time during the opening hours, although there is a maximum capacity of 50 at any one time. 

3. The Skip House

A renovated skip with wooden walls and semi circular roof and window above the walls

Harrison Marshall created his own home in London by renovating a skip (Image credit: Harrison Marshall)

Harrison Marshall took a bold stance against the soaring property prices in the UK by constructing his own living space with a renovated skip house.

Situated on a grassy patch in Bermondsey, South London, Harrison has painstakingly transformed this unconventional vessel into his home. He was driven to this unusual choice due to the challenges of finding affordable housing in proximity to his workplace in the city center.

While Harrison acknowledges that his move into a dumpster is more of a symbolic gesture than a practical solution to the exorbitant cost of living in the UK, his innovative house project 

Address: The Skip House, 105 Page's Walk, SE1 4HD.
Guided tour dates: Fri 15 Sep, 11:00–18:00. Book now

Joseph Mullane
News Editor

News Editor Joseph has previously written for Today’s Media and Chambers & Partners, focusing on news for conveyancers and industry professionals.  Joseph has just started his own self build project, building his own home on his family’s farm with planning permission for a timber frame, three-bedroom house in a one-acre field. The foundation work has already begun and he hopes to have the home built in the next year. Prior to this he renovated his family's home as well as doing several DIY projects, including installing a shower, building sheds, and livestock fences and shelters for the farm’s animals. Outside of homebuilding, Joseph loves rugby and has written for Rugby World, the world’s largest rugby magazine.

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