One weekend a year, Brisbanites can get a free peek behind usually-closed doors, explore secret corridors, step through heritage-listed history and marvel at the grandest of designs. Opening up the city's public and private architectural gems is what Brisbane Open House is all about, after all, and it has the 2017 program to prove it, with more than 90 buildings featured in the event's eighth iteration.
Taking place over the weekend of October 7 and 8, this year's lineup will let curious residents explore everywhere from the Anna Meares Velodrome to Queensland Ballet's West End home, both new additions to the city-wide open house. They join the iconic likes of the towering St John's Cathedral on Ann Street, South Brisbane's old Peter's Ice Cream factory, 4ZZZ's studios in the Valley, Spring Hill's Old Windmill Tower and the Fort Lytton Historic Military Precinct out east. Gaols, more churches, galleries, schools, scientific institutions, fire stations, studios, Brisbane's oldest surviving home, the houses inside Indooroopilly's Walter Taylor Bridge (yes, inside) — the list goes on.
It's the kind of event that'll get you scampering across city — but planning your route in advance is essential, with some places open for all visitors, others hosting guided tours and some requiring bookings. Walks through the CBD, of Spring Hill, behind the scenes at South Bank, via Brisbane's public art highlights and more are also on the agenda.
Plus, wandering through a vast array of spaces is only part of the fun, with Brisbane Open House as committed to talking about architecture as it is trekking through it. In the lead up to your exploring, a speaker series will touch upon topics such as gardening, keeping things local, the interplay between protecting heritage and supporting progress, and revitalising industrial spaces, while special events during the main weekend include art in the Spring Hill reservoir, big bands at Boggo Road Gaol, and a maker day showcasing artisans, artists and manufacturers at Albion Fine Trades.
Images: Bardon House shot by Cathy Schusler.