This year's Open House Melbourne program has had to be creative and inventive with new virtual ways of presenting and celebrating architecture. Melbourne's physical doors may be closed but the doors to the houses in our beloved city is more open than ever. From immersive VR tours of Melbourne's most iconic buildings to live-streamed talks led by some of the city's renowned architects and designers, there's plenty of digital experiences for you to dive into, from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Instead of laying actual footprints through the buildings you'll be stepping lighter virtually and embrace immersive technologies to view Melbourne's iconic buildings through cutting-edge VR as well as live-streamed footage. The good news is that there are no queues and you don't have to worry about booked out tours to your favourite sites. The majority of the events are also free of charge. You'll find the BUILDING LIST HERE which has 88 buildings to explore and 51 live experiences. You now have access (as of 16 Jul) to virtual tours until the end of August. Swing that mouse from side to side to enjoy Open House and click on the spot you want to have a closer view of and zoom in.
You can also play catch-up with events that occurred prior to Open House Weekend you may have missed like the 2020 Heritage Address with Stuart Harrison (host of Restoration Australia on ABC-TV) on the 15th of July for instance. Still available on the website, you can enjoy Stuart discussing the history, heritage and contemporary practice of several fascinating Australian restoration projects.
Another event you might want to revisit is the Speaker Series, which will remain online for viewing till the end of August. Watch it on YouTube; and you'll also find other OHM event videos on their YouTube page. The Speaker Series is a rare opportunity to hear directly from experts on the design process behind built outcomes.
Depending on the upcoming event, you'll find them on the website, YouTube, Facebook and Zoom with live event details shared within each event closer to or on the date as follows.
MacKillop Virtual Tour takes you to one of Australia's oldest orphanages (late 1800s to late 1900s) at the historic South Melbourne building, now home to MacKillop Family Services. Discover both the architectural and social history that features videos of life at the orphanage; heartwarming stories from former residents, archival photos, live Q&A with a former resident and more.
These days Gasworks Arts Park is renown for hosting theatre productions and more. Now you can see it as more than just a venue by jumping into a 3D virtual tour. Walkthrough the theatres, galleries and workshops at this historical site in Albert Park built in 1872 and listen to the Visual Arts Manager explain the significance of Gasworks from the 1800s to modern-day.
How many times have you walked past the Scots' Church on Collins street and not batted an eyelid. This 1838 institution started out as a temporary wooden building until a proper building was built in Jan 1841, seating 500. A growing congregation demanded a larger church, the one you see today designed by the notable architects Reed & Barnes, with the building opening in Nov 1874.
Other highlights include -
The Victorian Archives Centre - over 100kms of significant government records dating back to 1846; a 20 min tour and Q&A with your hosts on Facebook.
Peek inside RMIT Design Archives - an award-winning building unique for its exclusive focus on design practice across all disciplines.
A Discussion of Split House - will be held via a Zoom conversation about the design process and the ideas that formed the design of a Split House.
RMIT Design Archives - a discussion about design, Melbourne architecture, and architectural education at RMIT.
Woodlands Homestead - one of the only remaining timber kit homes in Victoria brought from Britain for retired Royal Navy Officer William Greene and his family in 1843.
Author Talks - an online lecture that explores Australia's most iconic mid-century modernist Robin Boyd's ambitions and struggles to shape Australia's understanding of itself as an urban nation.
A Discussion of Bustle House - a conversation via Zoom about the design process and ideas that formed the design of this House with Q&A at the end.
Boyd House II - Designed by Robin Boyd (1957) for his family
It's going to be a full weekend of settling down virtually so be sure to have food and drink at arm's length for a perfect weekend of architecture and historic buildings. Stay in touch via the Website, Facebook and Instagram.