Architecture is an art form for everyone. Whilst you have to go to a gallery to see paintings or the theatre to watch a play architecture (good and bad) is all around. You can study it consciously or just as you travel from place to place.

LONDON OPEN HOUSE takes place mid September and gives the opportunity to visit places in London not normally open to the public and find out more about them. To make the most of it you need to get the booklet in advance and make a plan!

The weekend before has HERITAGE OPEN DAYS which are the nationwide equivalent of London Open House. You should be able to find somewhere accessable by train from the capital worth visiting.

ARCHITECTURE WEEK which takes place in the second half of June each year is the annual national celebration of architecture. It features exhibitions, talks, walks, tours, films and family events.

If you are interested in modern architecture and plans for London NLA at South Crescent, Store Street is highly recommended. There is a large model of London and displays on new and proposed projects. They also stage a series of changing exhibitions with a free booklet to accompy each one. Check out which also has details of their events programme.

An older establishment is RIBA which 'exists to advance architecture by demonstrating benefits to society and promoting excellence in the profession'. They have an Art Deco building at 66 Great Portland Place which is open to the public. Exhibitions are free and there is a good bookshop. A charge is made for the use of the library.

The V&A has an Architecture Gallery on level 4 with permanent and changing exhibitions. This is run in conjunction with RIBA who also have study rooms available.

The BUILDING EXPLORATORY is an education and resource centre based in Hackney designed to help local communities understand and appreciate their area (limited opening).

Sir John Soane designed a number of buildings in London and influenced other architects. His house at 13 Lincoln's Inn Fields with his collections is open to the public as the SOANE MUSEUM.

If you like ART DECO, as a lot of people seem to, I have a listing of some Art Deco buildings in London [click here] and an Art Deco trail [click here]

There are websites devoted to certain types of buildings as follows:

'THE SURVEY OF LONDON' is a series of books, illustrated with photos, maps, plans and sketches which provides a comprehensive account of London's buildings. It was begun in 1894, inspired by C R Ashbee, as a volunteer project to record the historic fabric of a city experiencing much development and destruction. It was adopted by the LCC and later the GLC but is now the responsibility of the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England website
Some 40 volumes and monographs on individual buildings have been produced. A number are out of print or only available as facsimilies and they are expensive to purchase. However copies are held at certain archives and local studies libraries including a number at the LMA. The Survey is now being made available
online Vols 29 - 32 (St James's) 33 & 34 (Soho) 39 & 40 (Mayfair) have been digitised so far.
An index to places covered is available on the Westminster archives

More widespread but less detailed coverage can be found in PEVSNER'S 'BUILDINGS OF ENGLAND'. London is covered in 6 volumes although as someone who lives in south London I find this area gets short measure! At 30 per volume a collection will be quite expensive but copies can be obtained from amazon for about 20 or major London libraries should have them. 2006