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Footprint's pick of Open House 2012 (22-23 September)

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Your chance to experience first-hand many of London’s green buildings

Open House is coming soon. This is a chance to visit many buildings which are normally inaccessible to the public; often accompanied by talks and workshops with the designers.. To make the most of this busy weekend, it’s really worth planning ahead.

Footprint has created this map to help you navigate around this year’s sustainable projects. All green buildings are marked ‘G’ in the Open House listings.

Also keep an eye out for Open City’s Green Sky Thinking 2012 (Sept 17 - 21), a week-long programme of events showcasing sustainable design projects and initiatives across London. Developed in partnership with the AJ, Green Sky Thinking offers insider perspectives from those on the forefront of delivering projects which pave the way towards a more sustainable London. See the full programme here.

Read on for a selection of Open House projects from the Retrofit, New Build Exemplar and Low Impact categories.



100 Princedale Road
Paul Davis + Partners // Ladbroke Grove // 2010
This Victorian domestic refurbishment was part of the Retrofit for the Future programme, achieving an 80% CO2 reduction and 94% less energy use than the original building.

Mayville Community Centre
bere:architects // Islington // 2011
Mayville Community centre was the first non-domestic retrofit project in the UK to be certified Passivhaus. The building achieved 95% total energy savings in its first winter, alongside winning a Passivhaus award in the Retrofit category in July 2012. The centre has become a hub for the community in which it sits.

The Coach House
John Smart Architects // Belsize Park // 2012
Another Victorian house retrofit. Saves 70% CO2 than original, other features including high performance double glazing, integral draught stripping and LED low energy lights. Smart energy controls have been added this year and will be on display during Open House.

20 Lena Gardens
Green Tomato Energy // Hammersmith // 2011
Previously visited by Footprint, 20 Lena Gardens exemplifies how low energy standards can be applied sympathetically to existing, period buildings.

New build exemplars


Ravensbourne College
Foreign Office Architects // Greenwich // 2010
Ravensbourne College has been awarded BREEAM Excellent since its opening in September 2010. Features a green roof, solar hot water heating and a biomass boiler. The project won an RIBA Award in 2011.

Enfield Town Library
Shepheard Epstein Hunter // Enfield // 2010
The new build links to the 1912 Carnegie Library via a two storey top-lit atrium, respecting the scale of the existing while providing natural light. Boreholes provide building cooling. The project is BREEAM Excellent and was London Planning Award Best Built Project Winner in 2010.

Heartlands High School
tp bennett // Haringey // 2012
The 108,000 sq ft Haringey project was commissioned as a flagship development for the Building Schools for the Future programme. Constructed on brownfield land, the school employs a variety of on-site renewable energy strategies and minimises consumption through careful orientation and solar shading.

Environment Centre at Lordship Recreational Grounds
Anne Thorne Architects // Haringey // 2012
Passivhaus, strawbale and timber frame construction with raised floor on timber piles, includes unfired clay blocks and a green roof. Part of the regeneration of Lordship Recreational Grounds, open on Saturday 22nd from 1-5pm alongside the Lordship Rec festival. Activities include a workshop on straw and clay for children. 


Low impact


Adobe Classroom at Hounslow Heath School
Small Earth // Hounslow // 2011
This Hounslow playscape facilitates outdoor learning within undulating earth forms, designed in conjunction with local school children. Rammed earth construction creates a room large enough to sit thirty, shielding from a noisy environment. Thermal mass adds to the temperacture controlled interior space.

Growing Communities’ Eco Classroom
Constructive Individuals (Peter Smithdale) // Stoke Newington // 2004
Wooden building with a green roof, water harvesting, composting toilet and warmcell insulation, set in an organic market garden with a deck over pond and wildlife area. The adjoining garden grows organic salad leaves for a local community-led box scheme while the classroom doubles as a shelter and learning space.

Straw bale building at Hackney City Farm
Barbara Jones / Amazonails // Hackney // 2007
A materials audit for the straw bale building was undertaken prior to construction to ensure all components were reclaimed/recycled and environmentally sound, including the Straw bale walls and clay-lime render.

This is just a small selection of the many projects to see during Open House. Many buildings with limited entry are filling up fast, so we advise early booking.

Should RIBA have an annual sustainability award?

Vote in the AJ poll

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