Over 100 buildings, exhibitions and events are featured in the program launched by Centre for Architecture Victoria for the 14th annual Open House Melbourne 2021 Weekend.

To be held on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July, Open House Melbourne will bring to life the city’s vibrant built environment, with this year’s program focussed on the theme ‘Reconnect’ as it delves deep into topics of adaptability and the liveability of our future cities, buildings and infrastructure.

The program was launched at the newly built Melbourne Connect innovation precinct at the University of Melbourne. Part of the 2021 program, the 75,800sqm purpose-built precinct is designed by acclaimed architectural firms Woods Bagot and Hayball. Featuring a smart, innovative and sustainable design, Melbourne Connect brings together world-class researchers, industry, start-ups, higher-degree students, artists and Science Gallery Melbourne.

There are 47 new sites in the 2021 Open House Melbourne program while returning favourites include Orica House, Waller House, Villa Alba Museum, Collins Arch, Melbourne Quarter Sky Park, Koorie Heritage Trust, Collingwood Yards, Lyon House museum, and many more.

Program highlights:

National Institute of Circus Arts Australia (NICA)

NICA comprises two award-winning facilities on the Prahran campus of Swinburne University of Technology. The first is the Sidney Myer Circus Studio designed by Bates Smart Architecture and the second is the NICA National Circus Centre (NCC) designed by Cox Architects & Planners. Over the weekend, NICA’s trainers will guide tours through the main training facilities showcasing the building’s rich history, followed by the option of a juggling workshop post-tour.

Carrum Station 

Designed by Cox Architecture, the building forms draw upon the eroded coastal character of the beach, evoking the effects of wind and water on the landscape of the sand dunes. The Frankston railway line traces ancient indigenous movement paths and there are a number of cultural sites located within the precinct.

Designing on Country 

ABC’s Jonathan Green will host a conversation with Boon Wurrong elder N'Arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM and emerging Gamilaraay architect Beau de Belle and non-Indigenous design academics, Christine Phillips and Jock Gilbert in considering the question: What will Melbourne look like in the future when we embrace design as an act of reconciliation? Taking place at The Capitol on Saturday 24 July, Designing on Country is presented by the Ngulu team at RMIT Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University.

Hidden Beneath 

The St Kilda Foreshore Vaults designed by W.B. Downe (1891) and Town Hall Caretakers Cottage designed by William Pitt (1888) will be featured in Hidden Beneath – An Immersive Exploration. This virtual reality experience curated by Ignition Immersive is set to guide guests through the two sites from the comfort of another modernised historical site – 234 Banks Street, South Melbourne. The narrated exploration allows guests to walk freely through the spaces and reconnect with the hidden past of St Kilda through a VR headset.


A series of walking tours taking place in seven local Melbourne precincts over the weekend, WalkYourGround will be led by members of Monash University’s gender, design and space specialists, XYX Lab. All members of the community are invited to join in a discussion of the special typologies where movement and access are restricted for women and gender-diverse people and consider how we can design more equitable communities.

Assemble 393 Macaulay Road

Assemble’s first project to be delivered under their Assemble Housing Futures housing model allows residents to rent their home for five years while saving to buy it. The innovative building at 393 Macaulay Road, Kensington retains and restores the façade of the original heritage building designed by Art Deco architect Harry A. Norris and reimagined by Fieldwork Architects. The architect-led construction tours will reveal thoughts behind the Fieldwork design, and inspire discussion about the future of community living. 

Burwood Brickworks

Designed by NH Architecture, Burwood Brickworks generates its own energy, cleans its own water, is free from toxic construction and even produces food on the roof. A guided tour of the shopping precinct led by members of the centre management will offer opportunities for guests to ask questions and learn about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the world’s first Living Building Challenge retail centre.

Russian House

Built in 1870–1890, this superb Victorian era building combines classicism with some elements of the renaissance architecture. Located on a fine corner streetscape in the heart of Fitzroy, this historical building was originally established for the Collingwood & Fitzroy United Friendly Societies Dispensary for the supply of medicines, bandages, etc., and is now home to Melbourne’s Russian-speaking community. Guided tours will tell you the story of the house itself and introduce you to everyday culture and history of the diverse Russian community.

The majority of the Open House Melbourne 2021 program is free to take part in with no bookings necessary.

Explore the full program online via the Open House Melbourne website.