Open House Melbourne is usually a chance for people to step inside buildings not ordinarily open to the public. But in a funny way, Covid forcing it to go virtual for the first time ever, is opening it up to many more (online) visitors.
The 13th Open House Melbourne will liven up the month of July with a schedule of free design and architecture events. The future of the city will be considered across a range of talks and discussions with a special focus on the environmental impacts of design decisions and architectural responses to creating COVID-safe spaces.
This year’s festival will embrace immersive technologies to capture Melbourne’s iconic buildings through cutting-edge VR as well as livestreamed footage led by some of the city’s renowned architects and designers. For the first time, visitors will be able to skip the queues and not worry about booked out tours to their favourite sites around town.
The full building list and access to virtual tours will launch online next week, on Thursday 16 July, and be available until the end of August.
The program of virtual tours will now allow ample time to explore Australia’s most liveable city from the comfort of home. In addition to virtual tours, the annual weekend of live events set for 25 and 26 July will host a series of digital experiences including live tours, panels, architect Q&As and performances from the musicians selected to take over five Open House Melbourne sites as part of the MERGE program.
With over 50 virtual building tours, and engaging digital content from many more significant locations, the 2020 highlights include:
Aptly named the “People’s Palace”, Trades Hall is one of the most historic buildings in Melbourne that was built on the back of the struggle for the eight-hour day. The complex is a series of 10 buildings built between 1874 and 1963 and is the oldest continuously active union building in the world.
Across three buildings and 6,500 square metres, the historic site has been reinvented as an affordable, open and connected space tenanted by artists, arts organisations, hospitality and retail. This collaboration with Open House Melbourne is an early opportunity for the public to experience the transformed spaces digitally – walk the hallways, discover the 20th century history of the site through archival footage and documentation, and meet the current tenants who now call Collingwood Yards home.
Step inside Victoria’s iconic Parliament House and explore one of Australia’s oldest and most architecturally distinguished public buildings. As part of the festival, Facebook Live events will encapsulate never before seen experiences of the building including the lowering of the grand chandelier in Queens Hall and access to the roof overlooking Spring Street and where Members of Parliament work.
Citylink Traffic Control Room
For the very first time, the public will be able to peer into one of the city’s busiest traffic control rooms digitally, and navigate the Citylink TCR via 3D mapping and a virtual tour led by Transurban’s Operations Lead, Brad Collis.
Blurring the lines between art and architecture, the suburban spectacle that is Lyon
Housemuseum in Kew, will be a building highlight for many design and
contemporary art lovers alike. The unique home property that doubles as a private museum was designed by celebrated architect Corbett Lyon and his wife Yueji Lyon, who was instrumental in establishing the public extension of the Housemuseum gallery that opened in 2019. Open House audiences will receive a digital view inside the home restoration while catching a glimpse of the family’s expansive art collection.
Open House Melbourne is an independent organisation that fosters public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in design in the built environment.