For the first time ever, Open House will bring its annual celebration of local architecture to the Sunshine Coast.

The Open House program began in London in 1992 as a once-yearly opportunity for the public to view buildings they wouldn’t usually get the chance to see. The program is now held in more than 30 cities around the world. Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is the most recent to join that global list.

The inaugural Sunshine Coast program, revealed this week, has been developed in conjunction with the Queensland chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Starting on Saturday 21 October 2017, the public will be invited to step inside 30 of the city’s most historic, daring and well-hidden buildings.

Here are some of Architecture & Design’s favourite picks from the first Sunshine Coast Open House:

Tent House


For most people, staying in a tent is a novelty holidaymaking exercise. For one family in the Noosa hinterland, it is home – and thanks to Sparks Architects, it’s much more comfortable than it sounds. Completed last year, Tent House accommodates four bedrooms within a spectacular, operable and insulated box structure that is topped with a fabric ‘fly roof’ and flanked by a lush, tropical wall of trees. To get there, visitors will need to follow a winding bush track through the forest, making this Open House event feel a bit like a holiday-in-miniature.

Book here.



The tactile, rammed earth walls and a long, linear roof of Avonlea reflect the distinctive red earth and sweeping plains of this home’s context, a market town in direct view of Cooroy Mountain. The home, only completed earlier this year, stands on an elevated site of almost three hectares and replaces a Queenslander that occupied the site for a century before burning down. One of the most spectacular design features of the new build is the central opening in the otherwise dense rammed earth structure. This steel-framed glass insertion cuts right through the middle of the linear plane, opening up views to the mountain through the house when viewed from the southern side.

Book here.

Bankfoot House Heritage Precinct


Bankfoot House is the oldest surviving residence in the Glass House Mountains. Built in 1868, the heritage-listed property has seen a number of alterations and additions to the original building, including a new building that was erected to the rear in 1878. The same family retained the home for three successive generations until 2004, when the building and its contents were bought by the council. It now operates as a house museum, set amidst the almost Dr. Seuss-esque backdrop of the green-tinged mountainscape.

More here.

Majestic Theatre


The Majestic Theatre holds its fair share of records. Not only is it one of Queensland’s only surviving pre-World War II theatres, it is also the longest continually operating theatre in Australia, and the longest continually operating silent film theatre in the world. As for the architecture, it’s not altogether what you’d expect of a cinema. That’s because, when it was built in 1921, it was meant to function as a social hall with attached shops. Even though it has recently come out of an extensive five-year restoration process, the theatre still contains rare and function examples of timber and fibrous cement sheeting – not to mention its traditional furnishings and fixtures.

More here.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Discovery Centre


Completed last year, the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Discovery Centre serves an important conservative function for its immediate context, a subtropical rainforest with stunning views over the Glasshouse Mountains. As a site of conservation and education, it only makes sense that the architecture was guided by sustainability. The whole structure is naturally ventilated and naturally lit, all water is captured and treated on site, and endemic species were used exclusively for additional landscaping. Natural materials such as basalt were sourced locally, and selected for their ability to weather over time.

More here.