Sydney Open returns this November, offering visitors a glimpse into some of Sydney’s most spectacular architecture and design, normally off-limits to the public.

More than 80 buildings and spaces will be open to the public during this year’s Sydney Open.

In-depth architect-led focus tours will be held on November 2, while an array of buildings will be accessible through the Sydney Open Pass on November 3.

“This year we’ve expanded the program to include the first After Dark tours, offering people a special night time experience whether it’s taking in the spectacular views of the Sydney Botanic Gardens from rooftop of the Harders Building or exploring the darker side of Sydney at Mortuary Station and the Justice & Police Museum,” says Adam Lindsay, executive director, Sydney Living Museums.

The Sydney Open Pass program on Sunday 3 November includes some new experiences, from exploring the vault containing safety deposit boxes owned by many colourful racing identities at the City Tattersalls Club, to a backstage tour of the Victorian Free Gothic style Genesian Theatre at St John’s Church.

Past architecture married with stunning new, contemporary design can be seen at The Bushells Building, and the offices of Peace of Mind Technology and ISPT at the stunningly adapted George Place.

George Place
George Place. Photography by Brett Boardman

Favourites returning to the Sydney Open Pass program are the grand Sydney Masonic Centre, magnificent places of worship at St James Church, The Great Synagogue and St Mary’s Cathedral, the AMP building and Barangaroo Towers One and Three boasting breathtaking views of the Harbour, and the award winning Grosvenor Place and Australia Square.

Sydney Open ticketholders can extend their experience through the exclusive focus tours on Saturday 2 November. Naval heritage is a highlight of the tours, with opportunities for people to explore the Sub Base Platypus (a former torpedo factory), discover the underground tunnel complex and Plotting Room at North Head Fort and walk the corridors of the gunpowder magazine at the Newington Armoury.

The Boiler HouseThe Boiler House. Photography by Thomas Martin

“We are delighted to add the NSW State Archives and Records Authority, Western Sydney Centre to the focus tours for the first time this year where visitors can go behind the scenes, view rare objects from the collection and gain an insight into the unique workings of the organisation,” says Lindsay.

Exclusive focus tours of private homes include the important parkside heritage estate of Braelin with a guided tour by owner Dr Gene Sherman AM and designer Don Cameron; Tom Uren House, home to the labour leader, environmentalist, peace and social justice advocate of the same name; the Harbour Masters House with its modern twist on the convict-constructed, heritage building; and Welcome to the Jungle House, which explores the relationship between architecture, landscape, sustainability and food production in one building.

Tank StreamTank Stream. Image courtesy of Sydney Water

Anyone who buys their Sydney Open tickets before 6 October will have a chance to win a Golden Ticket providing access to the much sought-after, state heritage listed Tank Stream.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Featured image: Welcome to the Jungle House by CPlusC, also a finalist in the 2019 Sustainability Awards. Photography by Michael Lassman