Stay home with Open House Melbourne and attend free design and architectural events virtually

OHM-Myer-Music-Bowl-model-courtesy-of-WSPMelbourne’s annual month of architecture and design is well underway, and in its thirteenth celebration of good design advocacy, Open House Melbourne is showing no signs of slowing down with almost 20 virtual events happening now and until the Weekend of live events set for Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July 2020.

“The physical doors around Melbourne may be closed, but our House is more Open than ever,” says Open House Melbourne’s Program Manager, Victoria Bennett. “In 2020, we are pivoting the Open House Melbourne program by adopting new ways to stay connected, think, explore and advocate for inclusive change.”

“The thirteenth Open House Melbourne will present the largest collection of virtual tours in Australia, and an unrivalled program of free, live, interactive and on-demand digital content—in keeping with the true spirit of Open House Melbourne.”

Learn first-hand from local and international design experts alike – from emerging to established, design-lovers can tune into a variety of virtual events all from the comfort of home. Featuring panel discussions, live and interactive Q&As, as well as virtual presentations on significant Melbourne buildings, highlights include:

Walk Up Village: A Conversation With 6a Architects + Dan Pearson Studio
Monday 13 July – 8.00pm via the website
Sensitively developed by Molonglo, 81–89 Rupert Street in Collingwood comprises a pair of buildings based on the idea of a Walk Up Village. The current site is 2,000sqm and made up of two conjoined warehouses; No. 89 was completed in 1925 and was originally the Davis Pickle and Sauce factory; No. 81 – a subsequent extension.

The new development challenges normalised typologies for mid-rise buildings and the people and places that occupy them – height is approached in a meandering way, drawing inspiration from Mediterranean hilltop villages and the activity that naturally punctuates them. The development will ultimately support an interconnected web of uses that includes workspaces, retail, a hotel, and social and cultural tenancies.

Molonglo has commissioned London-based 6a architects and landscape architects Dan Pearson Studio to design the buildings – chosen for their meticulous approach and sensitivity to context. In this conversation, Molonglo is joined by its UK collaborators, Dan Pearson and co-founders of 6a architects, Stephanie Macdonald and Tom Emerson to discuss the design response to this new Collingwood development.

Construction Declares: The Climate Revolution
Friday 17 July – 5.00pm via the website
Architects, builders, engineers and planners worldwide are standing up to revolutionise the built environment and demand a positive future. Locally, we’ve seen the rise of the Declare movement featuring Australian architects, engineers, planners and builders declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency. The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are of the most serious issues of our time.

Globally, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while also having a significant impact on our natural habitats. For everyone working in the construction industry, meeting the needs of society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift in behaviour.

Together with its clients, Open House Melbourne will need to commission and design buildings, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system. We’re raising our voices and invite you to come on this journey with us and join the conversation. Details to be released on the website soon.

Tuesday 21 July – 5.00pm via the website
EmAGN THIS! is a showcase of selected unrealised projects from the NGV Pavilion competition in partnership with Australian Institute of Architects’ Emerging Architects and Graduate Network, and Open House Melbourne. This event hopes to provide greater exposure to emerging architects, shed light on the process of architectural competitions to the wider public and provide a platform for discourse on design exploration. Speakers include architects in Lee Yang Yang & Louise Allen, Ursula Chandler & Marko, FMD Architects and Winwood McKenzie.

Structural Engineering History of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Thursday 23 July – 5.30pm via the website
Join Phil Gardiner from WSP for a live presentation on the history and structural engineering of Melbourne’s iconic Myer Music Bowl, including drawings and archival images of the completed bowl and construction stages. The Bowl which is known for its pure tension structure, precedes the major works of Frei Otto for the Munich Olympic games and represents the third in a series of
1950’s beautifully engineered structures designed by Bill Irwin. The first being the Melbourne Olympic Pool, where the engineering solution adopted the form of the pool hall and used tie rods and inclined seating trusses to create a post-tensioned steel structure; the second was the Academy of Science Dome – a mathematically pure compression shell. Perfect for aspiring or practicing engineers and history buffs, learn more about the Irwinconsult practice in this presentation sure to present a thorough inside-look on the makings of Melbourne’s most famous Bowl.

Home Truths – The Fact and Fiction of Reality Reno Shows
Saturday 25 July – 3.00pm via the website
Home and design reality TV shows are hugely popular in Australia, but they don’t always portray the whole picture when it comes to renovating or building your own home. Join an expert panel who will delve into some popular myths and misconceptions arising from reality TV shows, and provide insights and advice about what it really takes to make a great home. Presented by ArchiTeam and Sounds Like Design, the five panellists include:

  • Renovation Survivor – Emma Telfer; Director of Culture and Strategy at Assemble, who renovated her own home in 2016 and was surprised by how much she didn’t know about the process, especially given her work in design advocacy.
  • Architect + TV Subject – Marc Bernstein; founder of Melbourne Design Studios whose own home is currently under construction in front of the TV cameras for Grand Designs Australia.
  • Architect + Reno Specialist – Sarah Hobday-North; whose practice Value Architects Group provides “super smart architectural services
    at fixed prices, with no surprises.”
  • Architect + Renovators’ Agony Aunt – Amelia Lee; founder of Undercover Architect, provider of courses, support and mentoring for home builders and renovators
  • Journalist + Architectural Comms Advisor – Rachael Bernstone; founder of Sounds Like Design and good design advocate

The 2020 Open House Melbourne program launches on Thursday 16 July. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Myer Music Bowl model – courtesy of WSP