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Why we take part in Open House

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Architect Sandra Coppin on the experience of opening up her Highpoint flat as part of Open House London weekend

An ever-growing group of Highpoint residents and friends get involved in the Highpoint Open House each year, this year being no exception. Opening the two buildings, Highpoint I and II, to the public for just a day is a treat for us, given that we see enthusiasts milling outside most days of the year, keen for just a glimpse of the interiors and gardens of Lubetkin’s masterpiece.

It is surprising how diverse visitors are

There is always great interest in our building and it is surprising how diverse visitors are, ranging from local visitors with familiar faces, to architects and experts in Modernism who have travelled internationally to take part in the Open House programme.

Each year we make some good contacts, and meet many like-minded interesting people, creating the opportunity for conversations about the importance of the quality of design and architecture, as well as for Londoners to explore their city in a way that would not be possible without this scheme.

Most visitors to Highpoint are here to learn more about these buildings and their gardens, but for us, it is about opening our homes. It is more than a professional experience. While we certainly feel that we have a professional obligation to provide the chance for visitors to explore the iconic Grade I listed buildings, it is also a very personal experience.

For the core group who run Highpoint’s Open House, it is our home and very much a community event. We prepare by putting together an exhibition in the ‘tea room’, a display of Lubetkin’s drawings and archive photographs, and each year, the children rally around and bake cookies and make pamphlets for guests, keen to take part in the organization of the day. It’s good fun.

Open House does more than galvanise a residential community

Open House London seems to do more than galvanise a residential community, it reminds us of just how exceptional these buildings are and how lucky we are to be able to enjoy them.

And for the first time this year, we are opening one of the double height apartments in Highpoint II, which was recently refurbished by my practice, Coppin Dockray Architects.

  • Sandra Coppin is a co-founder of Coppin Dockray Architects

Book Highpoint tours for 21 September at http://ohlhighpoint.eventbrite.co.uk

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