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    Editor’s picks: our must-see list for Open House Melbourne

    Nicholas Rider

    At the end of the month, 200 buildings around the city of Melbourne will open their doors to the public as part of Open House.

    Taking place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July, the 2017 program has added 84 new buildings to this year’s program – almost doubling the buildings list from last year.

    This program is not only the largest-ever in terms of numbers, it also reaches more of Melbourne than ever before. This year, Open House is opening its doors to outskirt suburbs as far as Brighton, Ringwood, Dandenong, and even Frankston.

    While the majority of buildings will be experienced as open access and self-guided, some feature pre-booked tours, usually with the architects behind the building, or from residents who have experienced them first-hand. Bookings for these open online on 17 July.

    Whether you’re after a 150-year-old synagogue or a brand new residential skyscraper, Open House Melbourne has all sorts of building typologies on offer. Here are just a few of our favourite buildings to get you started:


    Jack-s-Magazine-Image-John-Gollings.jpgPhotography by John Gollings 

    When: Saturday, 10am – 3.30pm
    Where: Magazine Way, Maribyrnong

    Jack’s Magazine, a former explosives store by the banks of the Maribyrnong River, opened in 1878 and has been locked up and unused since the 1990s. For Open House Melbourne, Working Heritage invites visitors inside the bluestone walls to experience the tunnels, tramways and towering earth mounds of this remarkable heritage place. 


    New-Academic-Street-Image-Justin-Westwood.jpgPhotography by Justin Westwood 

    When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
    Where: 402 Swanston Street, Melbourne

    The New Academic Street project recently transformed the heart of the RMIT University city campus. The development created new facilities to deliver better services for students. It was designed by five separate architecture firms, including Lyons Architects, MvS Architects, NMBW Architects, Harrison and White, and Maddison Architects.


    La-Trobe-Institute-for-Molecular-Science.jpgImage: Open House Melbourne 

    When: Sunday, 11am – 4pm
    Where:  Plenty Road & Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora

    Completed in 2013, the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) was designed by Lyons Architects. The LIMS complex has 56 research and support laboratories, advanced research equipment, a 200-seat auditorium, and over 3,000sqm of teaching facilities. It has also achieved a 5-star Green Star certification.


    Eq-Image-Peter-Clarke.jpgPhotography by Peter Clarke 

    When: Saturday and Sunday, 10am – 4pm
    Where: 135 A'Beckett St, Melbourne

    Eq. Tower by architects Elenberg Fraser is a 203-metre tall, 63-storey high residential building. The soaring structure was designed with the help of a scripted parametric design tool that responds to the physical requirements of its specific site. It was this technology that allowed the building’s unique hourglass form.


    COX-Image-David-Yeow.jpgPhotography by David Yeow 

    When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm 
    Where: Level 2, 167 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

    This project was undertaken as an opportunity to rethink COX Architecture’s approach to design. In response, the architecture firm designed an open ‘box’ that created an internal connection between floors and reflects the intention to promote curiosity and increase the opportunity for staff to come together.


    Bundoora-Homestead-Art-Centre-Image-Steven-Harris-1.jpgPhotography by Steven Harris 

    When: Saturday and Sunday, 1 – 4pm
    Where: 7 Prospect Hill Drive, Bundoora

    The site of Bundoora Homestead Art Centre (designed by architect Sydney Herbert Wilson) has a multi-layered history that includes Indigenous custodianship of the land, subsequent colonisation, and the later construction of a Queen Anne-style Federation mansion. Still later, it had its time as the Bundoora Repatriation Mental Hospital, before coming into its current form: the public art gallery for the City of Darebin.


    17-Casselden-Place.jpgImage: Open House Melbourne 

    When: Saturday, 10am – 4pm
    Where: 17 Casselden Place, Melbourne

    Designed by George Tuxworth, 17 Casselden Place is of architectural and historical significance to the City of Melbourne: it is the only surviving single-storey worker’s cottage from the early 1860s. The house was constructed from machine-made bricks on bluestone footings, with a gabled slate roof to top it off.


    East-Melbourne-Synagogue.jpgImage: Open House Melbourne 

    When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
    Where: 488 Albert St, East Melbourne

    The East Melbourne Synagogue is the oldest continuously functioning synagogue in Victoria, playing a vital part in the life of Melbourne Jewry for over 150 years. Designed by Crouch & Wilson, the synagogue is significant for features such as its conventional – but imposing – Renaissance Revival façade. Unusually, two octagonal domes flank the central pediment.


    Mail-Exchange.jpgImage: Open House Melbourne 

    When: Sunday, 10am – 3pm
    Where: Level 1, 696 Bourke St, Melbourne

    Designed by John Smith Murdoch and opened in 1917, the Mail Exchange building is one of Melbourne’s earliest examples of Classical Revival architecture. Today, it is home to the studio of architectural practice, The Buchan Group. The studio, located on Level 1 of the building, comprises a high-quality fit-out over an area of approximately 2,000sqm. 


    Chamfer-House-Image-Andrew-Latreille.jpgPhotography by Andrew Latreille

    When: Saturday, 12 – 4pm
    Where: Olivers Hill, Melbourne

    Chamfer House involved the alteration of a 1977-built, Kevin Borland-designed post and beam dwelling. Re-designed by the architects at Mihaly Slocombe, the result is a sensitive yet thorough intervention. While Borland’s original design has been reconfigured and modernised, this has come without sacrifice to its core personality and philosophical intention.

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