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Open House on track to smash record

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The bookies' favourite for this year's Stirling Prize, Herzog & de Meuron's Laban Centre in Deptford, is set to form the centrepiece of London Open House 2003.

The scheme, which opened earlier this year, has inspired a series of events based around the relationship between dance and architecture.

Some 589 buildings, many of which are normally closed to the public, will be open next weekend (27 and 28 September) and are expected to draw the crowds. Last year the event attracted a record 360,000 visits across the capital.

Open House director Victoria Thornton said she believes Dancing Houses, a collaboration between Open House and eight dance groups, will help the visitor numbers up to another all-time high.

She said it will aim to explore the differences and similarities between the way architects and dancers use buildings. 'This is about the nature of space, ' she said. 'It is about how they deal with light and architecture.'

Other high-profile buildings open include Levitt Bernstein's LSO St Luke's church on Old Street and de Rijke Marsh Morgan's Centaur Street. Alsop Architects'Victoria House will also open its doors to the public for the first time.

Both Foster and Partners' Greater London Authority headquarters on the Thames and Michael Hopkins and Partners' Portcullis House are also set to open again after attracting 26,000 people between them last time round.

This year, for the first time, London Open House will look at buildings currently under construction. Members of the public will be welcomed, for example, onto the site of HOK Sport's emerging Wembley Stadium. For further details visit www. londonopenhouse. org London Open House runs in conjunction with the nationwide Heritage Open Days, which are held this weekend. Among this year's highlights is Sir John Soane's Moggerhanger Park in Bedfordshire, opening for the first time as its longterm restoration nears completion. For details visit www. heritageopendays. org or call 020 7389 1396.

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