Open House Melbourne Weekend 2017: What to see

If you love architecture, the 10th anniversary of Melbourne’s epic Open House festival promises to be a stunner. 

More than 200 of Melbourne’s most iconic – and usually off limits – buildings will throw open their doors and welcome in the public this weekend, celebrating Melbourne’s architectural history.

The Open House festival runs from Saturday July 29 until Sunday July 30, allowing architecture lovers the opportunity to explore some of Melbourne’s most magnificent buildings and enjoy rare access to the nooks and crannies not usually accessible to the public.

Lord Mayor of Melbourne Robert Doyle AC said at the launch of the event last month: “Melbourne’s contemporary and heritage architecture gives our city its unique character and the stories behind our buildings are important chapters in our history.”

We’ve scoured the program and put together a list of epic seldom-seen spaces you should check out this weekend. Places are limited: Get tickets here.

Open: Sunday 10am-4pm

Redeveloped in 2009 after a 50-year history of helping the disadvantaged on the streets of Melbourne, St Mary’s House of Welcome once again stands tall on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

This long-standing community-aid mission aims to help those in need of healthcare, food, training, a place to sleep and community outreach.

The update gives a sense of comfort and dignity to those who enter, with glorious stained-glass details and modern facilities that continue to make a difference in the lives of those it cares for.

Open: Saturday 10am-4pm

Transforming the city campus of RMIT University, one of the city’s busiest institutions, this upgrade aims to to improve campus life for its students in a creative and colourful way.

By creating light-filled laneways, glass-roofed arcades and rooftop urban spaces, as well as doubling the capacity of Swanston Library, the project is not only enhancing the experiences of its students, it also brings a bright new phase to Melbourne’s CBD.

Open: Sunday 10am-2pm

Located in Essendon, Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School features a blend of new, contemporary facilities, complemented by the stunning heritage-listed building, ‘The Mansion’.

Originally known as Earlesbrae Hall, it was built as a family home for brewer Collier McCracken in 1890.

Open: Saturday 1pm-4pm

If renovation inspiration is what you’re after, this modern build by local architecture firm Figr could be right up your alley.

The semi-detached worker’s cottage in Cremorne has had one hell of a makeover, making it one of the most exciting modern spaces of the year.

Open: Saturday 12pm-4pm

Looking for some out-of-town inspiration? This place, overlooking Port Phillip Bay, might be the perfect day trip.

This 1977 post-and-beam home, set among established gardens, was updated by Mihaly Slocombe Architects in 2015 .

Open: Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm

This Japanese-inspired inner-city sanctuary right in the heart of North Fitzroy was completed by Austin Maynard Architects.

What was once a run-down weatherboard is now a smart home that includes rooftop gardens and state-of-the-art water recycling system. A chic, elevated home-office is a clever addition to this family home.