Collective City: Sneak peek of Open House Melbourne 2023

OHM-RWA-Victorian-Emergency-Services-Memorial-photo-by-John-GollingsThe Open House Melbourne (OHM) Weekend returns in 2023 on Saturday 29 + Sunday 30 July with an exciting new program of events addressing the theme, Collective City.

As Melbourne expands to reach a projected population of 8 million by 2050, Collective City seeks to explore how will we reinvent, re-purpose and adapt our city to live better together?

Open House Melbourne is excited to announce the next architect for the ongoing series, Modern Melbourne is one of Australia’s most awarded and influential architects, Kerstin Thompson.

Established in 1994, Kerstin Thompson Architects – also known as KTA – explores how architecture can respond with great care to local conditions in ways that positively shape our lives and communities.

KTA projects are ‘engines for discovery’ – a single-family house provides an opportunity to test and evolve flexible ways of living; a museum is a space to reveal pre-histories, stories and celebrate community; while a private commission offers a chance to borrow from a neighbour’s garden and bring its leafy qualities inside – celebrating a connection to nature and to the street.

Award-winning buildings such as Broadmeadows Town Hall, Queens and Collins, Bundanon Art Museum and Bridge and the Melbourne Holocaust Museum (which is part of the Open House program this year) all expand upon what Kerstin describes as her deep commitment to an architecture that contributes to our ‘living heritage’.

Kerstin Thompson is this year’s recipient of the prestigious Australian Institute of Architects’ Gold Medal. Kerstin is also a Member of the Order of Australia which was awarded to her for significant service to architecture and tertiary education in 2022.

Presented by Heritage Council Victoria in partnership with Open House Melbourne, Modern Melbourne documents the extraordinary practice of our most important architects and designers and looks at their lasting impact on Melbourne.

Previous architects have included Peter McIntyre, Mary Featherston, Daryl Jackson, Graeme Gunn, Phyllis Murphy, Allan Powell and Peter Elliott. Modern Melbourne will premiere on Thursday 27 July at ACMI.

Gantry House is an extension of a tiny weatherboard cottage to accommodate a multi-generational family of seven. This is a house/warehouse/workshop for a family that loves ‘doing’ by OOF! Architecture. Part of the ArchiTeam Awards House Tours held during OHM, these homes showcase the work of award-winning small practice architects working in a variety of living and working environments.

Justin Arts House Museum is both residence for Leah and Charles Justin and a private, not-for-profit art museum that is open to the public. JAHM presents thematically curated exhibitions from the Justin Collection and other collections. The Justin’s personally conduct tours of both the exhibition and their home which includes art in every room. Art house museums like JAHM where the collectors engage with the public are very rare worldwide.

The Student Precinct Project is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure project for the University of Melbourne – one that will have a transformative impact on the student experience. It’s the first fully co-created major project in the University’s 170-year history. More than 20,000 students, staff and alumni actively contributed their ideas and expertise to inform the planning and design process. Designed by Lyons in collaboration with Koning Eizenberg, Aspect Studios, NMBW Architecture, Greenaway Architects, ArchitectsEAT, Breathe Architecture and Glas Urban, 2022.

Victorian Emergency Services Memorial in the Treasury Gardens in Melbourne is a project collaboration between the CFA and MFB, now Fire Rescue Victoria, the Victorian SES, Ambulance Victoria, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Life Saving Victoria. Designed by Rush Wright Associates and completed in 2020, the Memorial is a place of sanctuary and reflection for members’ families to reflect on the service and sacrifice of their loved ones.

Wurun Senior Campus is a new, highly sustainable, award-winning vertical campus that brings together two existing high schools to accommodate over 650 students. Constructed as part of the regeneration of the historic Fitzroy Gasworks precinct in Melbourne’s inner north, the building folds around a prominent corner site so it may integrate with the precinct’s future sports complex. Designed by GHD Woodhead and Grimshaw, the architecture takes advantage of this positioning, with the building form stepping up along its length to create landscaped terraces and an abundance of outdoor space.

Morris Moor is an iconic Moorabbin site that has been transformed into a place where culture and commerce connect – a new neighbourhood to work, play, eat and drink. A manufacturing mecca for the better part of the century, Phillip Morris was one of the biggest local employers in the area, and is now home to new enterprises, onsite childcare centre, brewery, yoga studio and more.

Fender Katsalidis will present Melbourne’s urban development and how modes of inhabitation have intensified and diversified in the Fender Katsalidis Walking Tour – Evolution of Apartment Living. The tour will visit Republic tower, Paragon, Hero, Phoenix and finishing at Southbank to showcase Eureka and Australia 108.

Markham Avenue is one of the first projects designed and delivered under Homes Victoria’s Victoria’s Big Housing Build – a major investment in social housing across the state. Designed by Architectus, the project is spread across five buildings within a welcoming environment.

The new precinct’s 178 social and affordable homes are ‘tenure blind’ – meaning they are arranged and designed to be indistinguishable from each other. It’s high-quality housing that is universally accessible, equitable, and socially sustainable.

Other 2023 program highlights include:
• The Making Home series curated by Open House Executive Director and Chief Curator, Tania Davidge
• Designing with Country, presented by RMIT University’s Yulendj Weelam Lab – Wednesday 26 July
• This is Public, opening speaker series – Friday 28 July at The Capitol RMIT
• Heritage Council of Victoria’s annual Heritage Address – Monday 31 July at The Capitol RMIT

Through collaborative, creative and impactful programs, Open House Melbourne leads critical public debate on the value of place and design, empowering all Victorians to understand the important role they can play in shaping our built and natural environments.

Essential to our mission is recognising First Peoples’ knowledges and sovereignty, campaigning for sustainability towards a net-zero future and advocating for good design that is inclusive and accessible to all.

Open House Melbourne is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with programs including the much-loved Open House Melbourne Weekend, Open House Bendigo, Modern Melbourne, This is Public, Open Nature (as part of Melbourne Design Week) and The Naked Architect series.

The Open House Melbourne Weekend is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria, Major Sponsors the City of Melbourne, Efront and Studio Payne, valued Precinct and Practice Partners, and a team of dedicated volunteers.

The 2023 Open House Melbourne Weekend takes place on 29 & 30 July. The full 2023 OHM Weekend program will be released on 28 June. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: RWA Victorian Emergency Services Memorial – photo by John Gollings