It's been a decade since Open House began opening up some of Melbourne's most delightful buildings to the public. In honour of their tenth anniversary, this year's Open House Weekend sports a huge program, featuring over 200 buildings across wider Melbourne. It's all going down on the weekend of July 29 and 30 with a series of talks in the weeks leading up to the open weekend itself.
Some highlights of the program include a screening of Citizen Jane: Battle for the City at ACMI (a doco about a Jane Jacobs, a pioneering but untrained American city planner who championed sustainable activism, and whose work is seminal today in planning blueprints), a panel talk on 'high density happiness' discussing pedestrianising our cities, and a screening of Modern Melbourne, a series of interviews with and archival material from some of Australia's most prominent designers and architects. Also on the program is the Living Cities Forum, featuring award-winning architects and urban planners from around the world, and a free walking tour exploring the CBD's currently under construction metro tunnel.
Not to mention the buildings. It might be a good idea to start planning your weekend now because it'll take some military precision to get around to all your favourites. You can plan you itinerary on the Open House website but here are our not-to-miss selections.
- Hassell Studio — a converted 1880s loft for the architectural firm.
- Old High Court of Australia — an art deco interior and Beaux-Arts exterior makes the old court very pretty indeed.
- RMIT Design Hub — designed by famous architect Sean Godsell, the unique façade of this alone makes it worth a visit.
- SIGNAL — the last surviving signal box of Flinders Street Station is now a creative arts studio for young people.
- State Library of Victoria — get up in the library's nooks and crannies before its big renovation starts.
- Substation 'J' — although it's been converted into a residential apartment, large elements of the substation remain. They're offering guided tours, but be warned: there's limited mobility access (meaning no prams, children under 14 or wheelchairs, unfortunately).
- Council House 2 — a world famous building, known for its sustainable functionality. The tour includes views from the rooftop.
- Cox Architecture Studio — it's the workspace of a premiere architectural firm, so you know it's going to be good.
And while there's too many to list, don't forget to check out a few residential buildings as the weekend is probably the only time you'll be able to play house in someone else's beautiful, architecturally ambitious home.
Image: Earl Carter.