Melbourne’s Open House weekend is nearly here … the online building listings are available and the printed programme has just gone on sale. Bookings open on 12 July. So time to start planning. And there’s lots to see right across Melbourne and into the City of Hobson’s Bay, this year’s Precinct Partner.
Once again, about a quarter of the buildings that will be open have at some time been associated with Lovell Chen — new architectural design, adaptation works, conservation, restoration, or heritage planning, studies or reports. Some, such as newly re-opened wings at Old Quad at the University of Melbourne, are part of current projects. The Old Quad is the first university building to begin construction (1854) in Australia and is one of the campus’ most significant buildings.
[ Old Quad redevelopment, photo : Eve Wilson ]
Why not explore the former Victoria Police Mounted Branch stables and riding riding school, now part of the Southbank campus of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the University of Melbourne. Open access is available for the Octagon and Martyn Myer Arena at The Stables, or you could book for a tour of the Artist Studios.
[ Adaptation works underway at the Stables (design architect : Kerstin Thompson Architects), photo : Lovell Chen ]
In the city centre, you could sit in the Lord Mayor’s chair at the Melbourne Town Hall (1867 onwards), take a tour of the former Mail Exchange Building (1917) at the bottom of Bourke Street or visit the home of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (1933) on its island site off Spring Street — a site reserved in 1852 by Governor La Trobe for ‘educational purposes’. Over the river, there’s Government House (1876) to visit, where a pianist will accompany your self-guided tour through the State Apartments. Further afield, the opening of Caulfield Grammar School’s Valentines Mansion (1890s) is a terrific opportunity to see a rare surviving Land Boom era house.
As part of the Anything But Square Festival, head down under Federation Square for the Underground Pop-Up Experience … if you dare! Inspect the environmentally-friendly heating and cooling system, a network of tunnels and trenches, and shock absorbers that cushion vibrations from trains passing below the Square. Who knew all that was below our feet …