The Open House Melbourne Weekend is once again upon us. This fantastic two-day event – to be held on 29—30 July 2017 – this year features over 200 buildings. We’ve put together a list of the most exciting events, tours and buildings to help you kick start your weekend.
It’s always impossible to do justice to such a far-reaching event, so we’ve chosen buildings and programs that highlight key themes for this year’s Open House; from Modernism, to city building, education to new design. These top 10 picks are a taste of things you’ll get to experience across the weekend.
We kick things off with a program that isn’t just for the weekend, in fact you don’t even need to come to Melbourne for this one.
This year, Open House Melbourne Executive Director, Emma Telfer, and President, Tim Leslie, have interviewed living legends of Modernist architecture and design in partnership with the Heritage Council of Victoria and the Victorian Government, and supported by ACMI.
While a special screening was held on 12th July, the full interviews with Peter McIntyre, Mary Featherston, Daryl Jackson and Graeme Gunn can be viewed on the Culture Victoria website here
Metro Tunnel Walking Tour
Open House isn’t just an opportunity to peer behind the locked doors of Melbourne’s buildings, it’s also about creating better cities and engaging in major projects. As the city goes through an upheaval and major evolution of its underground train network, the Metro Tunnel Walking tours are your chance to better understand what’s happening beneath your feet. You’ll get a peek at how the new stations will look and feel, while learning about the impacts upon the city of such a major infrastructure project.
“The project team will guide you along the new tunnel route pointing out some of the challenges of building in an urban environment, including relocating services such as telecommunications, water and electricity, tunnelling through Melbourne’s complex ground conditions and designing stations that reflect the character of their surroundings whilst enhancing the liveability of our city.”
Another core program for this year’s Open House is ‘What would Jane do?’. The series of events looks at the work of journalist, author and activist, Jane Jacobs, whose work controversial studies and commentary on America’s cities have informed city-making across the globe.
As part of the program, there will be three separate ‘Jane’s Walk’ walking tours, in Collingwood, the Melbourne CBD and Fishermans Bend.
“Jane’s Walk sets out to inspire urban literacy and a community-based approach to city building. Citizen-led walking tours under the Jane’s Walk banner make space for anyone to observe, reflect, question and collectively reimagine the places where they live, work and play.”
The walks highlight the challenges faced in major cities such as Melbourne and explore how people can positively influence and change the cities they love.
New Academic Street
The New Academic Street at RMIT is a significant redevelopment of existing university buildings into modern, world-class educational facilities; from cutting edge broadcasting studios to a fully re-imagined ‘permeable’ precinct. This project brings together some of Melbourne’s best architects to re-imagine what a ‘sticky’ city campus can be. We suspect these tours will trigger plenty of mature-age student applications!
As Melbourne’s CBD continues to grow skywards, it’s important that we understand what life means in these new high-density vertical communities. EQ Tower by Elenberg Fraser Architects is an opportunity for visitors to explore this vertical residential typology, to be more informed and to understand the design and social challenges of tower living.
The tours include a visit to an apartment on the 62nd floor, the feature lobby and resident lounge areas on Level 7 — including a karaoke suite, 25m lap pool, home theatre and private dining — and the Level 33 games room.
Open Saturday + Sunday
Exploring another inner-city housing typology — the worker’s cottage — Dark Horse house by Architecture Architecture recently won a Victorian Residential Architecture Award. While technically a new build, the home acknowledges the traditional architecture of the street, but manages to bring light and functionality into the narrow home. Architecture Architecture is one of Melbourne’s most exciting young architectural practices, and this project promises to impress with tours on the Saturday.
Bookings Required. You can also visit Architecture Architecture’s Fitzroy Studio.
The Cairo Flats in Fitzroy have become a staple of the OHM weekend. If you haven’t already had a chance to tour these remarkable ‘bachelor flats’ designed by renowned architect, Best Overend, this is the year! There are also specific tours of the renovation of Cairo Studio by Nicholas Agius Architects, where you can see compact city living at its best. A must-see.
More joyous modernism can be found at the MAD House in Beaumaris, where the home has been ‘restorated’ into a beautiful homage to classic modernist design, retaining stunning features, while modernising the residence to fit the needs of its owners. Make sure you watch the Modern Melbourne interviews before attending a tour here, to understand how special it really is.
As Melbourne expands, new more-affordable housing forms are being created. Prefabricated houses are one way to reduce the cost and increase efficiencies of new builds in our city’s suburbs. One company leading the charge is Modscape, whose Brooklyn factory in Melbourne’s inner west produces prefab houses for a range of different needs and designs. Tours of the factory will take place on Saturday 29th. Head along if you’re interested in the process.
Aimed at breaking down barriers to engaging an architect, this amazing series has been developed in partnership with the Architects Registration Board of Victoria in conjunction with ArchiTeam. Continuing the Open House approach of creating direct experiences of good design, each of the six workshops will be hosted in architect-designed homes across Melbourne.
For those considering a renovation or new build, the program is an opportunity to learn how to select an architect, understand the different stages of design, planning, construction and project management, as well as learning the ins and outs of design fees and project budgeting.
On Saturday 29th, there is an introductory session covering the different workshops and what attendees should hope to gain from the experience. Well worth checking out.
Open House Melbourne has something for everyone. It focuses on facilitating first-hand experiences with great design, to help engage and inform the public. While we’ve picked our top 10 above, every single building, event and talk on the year-round Open House calendar is a chance to better understand our city, and to make it better.
Check out the full program on the Open House Melbourne website, or pick up your program — featuring 10 special 10th anniversary covers — at Readings, and start planning your weekend now.
Words: Ben Morgan
This piece was commissioned as a part of Open Journal’s 2017 partnership with Open House Melbourne. To find out more about the Open House Melbourne program click here.