On Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July, the doors to some of the city’s more interesting, iconic and outstanding buildings will open for the Open House Melbourne Weekend. Peer inside some of the city’s favourite spaces, from the iconic Melbourne Town Hall to Australia’s first six-star energy rated office building.
Melbourne Town Hall
Perhaps the most notable council building is Melbourne Town Hall. This heritage listed building was the prototype for numerous suburban town halls. While the building’s architectural significance is clear with its impressive Tasmanian freestone façade (built in 1867), the Prince Alfred Tower (added in 1869) and temple-like portico (1887), it’s also notable for its role in many historical moments. It was here that Federation was debated, Nellie Melba debuted and The Beatles greeted their adoring fans.
Built in 1880, the Meat Market is a grade one heritage-listed building with enormous character and history. Operating in wholesale meat trading until 1974, the building then became a craft centre, and since 2005 has been a dedicated arts event space. Discover 19th century culture and architecture through images, media and objects on display. No bookings are required for self-guided tours, guided tour bookings are essential.
Located in the heart of the city on the Northbank of the Yarra River, Signal is the last surviving signal box in Flinders Street Station. Once decommissioned, Signal has been converted into a creative studio for young people using simple environmental design concepts. Signal is open for self-guided tours on Saturday and Sunday.
Housed in a free-standing red brick building on Birrarung Marr, ArtPlay was once a training centre for train drivers from the 1920s to the 1980s. City of Melbourne re-purposed the space as an arts facility for children and in 2004 ArtPlay opened its doors. Participate in free event programming over the weekend, for children aged 3 to 8 years and their carers.
Council House 2
Built in 2004, this 10-storey building was the first purpose-built office building in Australia to achieve a 6 Star Green rating. With a water-mining plant in the basement, phase-change materials for cooling, automatic night-purge windows, wavy concrete ceilings and a facade of louvres (powered by photovoltaic cells) tracking the sun – it’s a building worth hearing more about. Fortunately, during Open House Melbourne, tour guides will take visitors through the space, from the foyer to the rooftop terrace, boasting spectacular inner-city views.