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Monday, 19 September 2011

Architecture Open Weekend

Once a year, there is an Architectural Open House in London, when you can check out buildings which are usually out of bounds.  I've been to the Freemason's Lodge in Covent Garden (wow), the Ishmaili Institute in South Ken (amazing) in previous years, but this year, I was happy to see that the Commonwealth Institute on High Street Ken was open, after being closed up for 10 years.  It will be re-developed by John Pawson internally for the Design Museum's new home, in 2014.  Externally, Rem Koolhaas at the OMA team are going to be the lead architects for the museum and adjacent buildings.. should be interesting...

Anyhow, the building was fantastic, and it was a great opportunity to see the site before it's transformation. The roof is a "hyperbolic something-or-other" of cast concrete and just amazing to look at internally.   The day-light was let in through windows along the edge of the roof, and it had an amazing quality of light.  

Pop-up Model of the building

After that, we went onto the recently refurbished Leighton House Museum, the home of the eminent British artist, Lord Leighton, who was the head of the Royal Academy of Arts and was a member of the Pre-Raphelite movement.  He loved Arabic ceramics (as do I), so I really wanted to see the Arab Hall he had installed in his home, tiles imported from Damascus.  The entire house was amazing.  Sadly, exhibition police yet again, so no pics.  I found these on the internet. 

It's usually £5 to get in, I'd say it's worth it. Also,  you can see his studio (exterior photo shows the massive window for the natural light), where he spent most of his time, along with loads of amazing drawings and paintings. 

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