Imagine a weekend full of free visits to places to which one normally would have no access to. So much to explore and learn! Last weekend there were 750 buildings, places and tours
open to experience everywhere in London – free of charge. This format is called OpenHouse
. For some locations pre-booking was mandatory, for most of the e.g. private residences, engineering sites or government buildings spontaneous visits were indeed possible. As I was exploring Camden town and King’s Cross
that weekend as well, I picked for example the new leisure and community centre of the Camden Council at 5 Pancras Square
. Boring? Well, just wait a little.
In big cities like London it is important to maintain a sense of community within the boroughs. Before feeling lonely or lost, it should be possible to visit a place where one can interact with people from the neighbourhood.
Let’s have a look at Camden: one of the biggest areas in London, providing homes for over 200k citizens and the latest urban design.
This building is one of the greenest buildings in London.
During the 1-hour tour, I learned that before the different administrations were spread all over the place. Now, they are all in one building – despite the town hall. There is plenty of public space in the basement, ground floor and first floor. Among others, there is a swimming pool, a gym, a library, a café as well as working space.
Heading upstairs, we got a little insight into the working vibe, everything is digital, employees do not have their fixed office desks, but can choose a new place whenever they want. By using Skype, there are no telephones anymore.
Consume as less as possible – attitude
Even though, the building does not produce its own energy as it may be quite common for green buildings nowadays, there are still some sustainable features. For example, the architects designed the building with a minimum amount of glass but with an ideal staircase that would support the diffusion of light. The Northern and the Eastern side of the building are equipped with window shades that move into place whenever necessary to prevent the glass from heating up and therefore avoiding the air conditioning to run 24/7. In addition, the administrative work must be so much more sustainable in terms of efficiency, since everything is under one roof. What do you think about solutions like this? How is it working in your borough/ administrative area?
Personally, I think is an important move for city administrations to perform as role-models when it come to creating sustainable cities. It makes the whole thing much more tangible.