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Spotlight On: Open City. We spoke to Phineas Harper, Director of OpenCity to find out more about them...
What and who is Open-City? What do you do?
Open City is a charity on a mission to make London, architecture and the built environment more open, accessible, and equitable. We engage all citizens, particularly from under-represented backgrounds, to learn about architecture and cities, and have a meaningful role in shaping their future. From our flagship Open House Festival and its international network connecting the public to great architecture in 46 cities around the world, to pioneering education programmes for schools, families and young people, we open up buildings, places and career paths to those who are normally locked out of them.
What are your current projects and plans for 2021?
In response to the profound challenge of the pandemic, Open City adapted quickly to deliver a rich programme in 2020. Mayor of London Sadiq Kahn praised our programme saying: “This brilliant series by Open City includes short film tours of special London buildings and landscapes, so you can be transported to your favourite sites while staying safe.” In 2021 we hope to build on the success of this alternative programme creating new films, tours, books and online events. You can see some of our films at www.open-city.org.uk/films.
How do you like your new office on the 9th floor?
I love it. I’m sure the rest of the team will do when they’re able to visit. Those who have been so far really like it.
What do you guys do to maintain good mental health and wellness at work, as a team?
Everyone has their own coping mechanisms. I try to cycle or jog into the office whenever I can. We meet up and check in as a team three times a week and, until lockdown 3, were trying to meet up as much as we were allowed. This third lockdown is a real blow but we’ll get through it!
What are you looking forward to most about being based at Republic?
Dreaming of lunch on the 9th floor balcony when the weather is warm enough.
Do you have anything you want to ask the Republic Community?
We’re currently recruiting buildings for the 2021 Open House festival. If anyone is in touch with a business or individual based in an interesting building (from a curious flat to a vast office) who’d be interested in helping London open up after the vaccine rollout in September, we’d love to hear from you about including that building in the festival programme.
Open City and Celebrating Architecture present, Learning From Architecture, a programme of design-based activities for home learning and teachers.
Venue: Import Building
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