Melbourne is a diverse and rapidly growing city. It’s estimated that by 2050 it will grow to over 8 million people. This rapid growth brings with it great opportunities but also significant challenges for the future of our city, our suburbs and our regions – challenges that have never been more urgent to address as we respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The built environment community must find new ways to reconnect and envisage transformative ways to live and work better together. Reconnect: OHM 2021 is a hybrid program of public events, talks and building tours for the highly anticipated Open House Melbourne Weekend set for Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July.
“For Victorians, the experience of an extended lockdown has brought into sharp relief the value of our public life and how the places in which we live, work and gather impact deeply on our sense of place and well-being,” says Fleur Watson, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne (CAV|OHM).
“We can reclaim the agency for design in shaping the public good and, in turn, re-design our values, systems and spaces and achieve a more adaptable, equitable and sustainable future for our built environment.”
Buildings, spaces, and programs will come together as real-life and online events this July, extending on the success of last year’s fully digital program. Building tour highlights for Open House Melbourne 2021 include:
Melbourne Connect, University of Melbourne
Melbourne has a new purpose-built innovation precinct powered by the University of Melbourne, in partnership with a consortium led by Lendlease. Melbourne Connect is a digital and data powerhouse built on the former site of the Royal Women’s Hospital. It brings together world-class researchers, industry, start-ups, higher-degree students, artists and Science Gallery Melbourne, connecting brilliant minds to tackle the most pressing problems facing society. Designed by acclaimed architectural firms Woods Bagot and Hayball, the 75,800sqm precinct boasts smart and sustainable design including on-site rainwater harvesting as well as solar and geothermal energy.
Science Gallery Melbourne
Occupying 3,800sqm within Melbourne Connect, Science Gallery Melbourne explores the collision of art and science through bold exhibitions aimed at young people aged between 15–25 and is part of the acclaimed Global Science Gallery Network pioneered by Trinity College Dublin. The internal galleries designed by Smart Design Studio include large-scale, flexible exhibition, event, education, laboratory, retail and theatre spaces as well as social areas. A special Open House Melbourne tour will speak to the site’s First Nations history, its innovative design, and its unique intersection between arts and science.
The Victorian Pride Centre
Take a tour of the new Pride Centre – Australia’s first LGBTIQ+ purpose-built centre designed to bring the LGBTIQ+ community together as a cultural, social and services hub. Designed by Brearley Architects & Urbanists (BAU) and Grant Amon Architects, the Pride Centre offers an open door to the whole community who share their values of equality, diversity and inclusivity. These tours will be the first look into the new Pride Centre, connecting the diverse parts of the LGBTIQ+ community and providing a vital link with the general community.
Melbourne Quakers Centre
The Quakers Centre in Melbourne sits on a triangular site on the edge of the CBD. As the main centre for Quakers across Victoria, it is a destination and symbol for the pursuit of world peace, a core belief and pursuit of the Quakers. Designed by Nervegna Reed Architecture and pH architects, OHM tours will offer a first look into the centre since construction was undertaken during the 2020 lockdowns.
Brunswick Design District (BDD)
Encompassing locations including Brunswick Town Hall, Mechanics Institute, Site Works and more, the BDD connects people, places and partnerships to support and strengthen Melbourne’s creative community. The OHM tours invite the wider community into spaces not normally open to the public, as well as the opportunity to meet the individual creators, designers and practitioners within their working spaces.
New highlights and old favourites return to the OHM building tour program, including Collins Arch, Melbourne Quarter Sky Park, The Capitol RMIT, State Library Victoria, Koori Heritage Trust, Villa Alba Museum, Collingwood Yards and many more.
As our community grapples with what might constitute a ‘new normal’ post-pandemic, we must also address equally urgent issues: recognising Indigenous sovereignty; human-induced climate change; access to social and affordable housing; compassionate care for our most vulnerable; and providing safe, equitable public space for all.
CAV|OHM invites the public to reconnect with the city and to take an active role in re-imagining the collective future for Open House Melbourne 2021. For more information, visit: www.openhousemelbourne.org for details.
Image: Victorian Pride Centre – photo by Luke David