What to see at Open House Melbourne

From futuristic marvels to renowned heritage architecture, Open House Weekend (28-29 July) is a behind-the-scenes look at some of Melbourne’s truly intriguing buildings. Here are some architectural feats not to miss. Some tours require pre-booking, so head to the Open House website to reserve your place  – and make sure you get in early!

Performing Arts Collection

Viewing this collection of more than 600,000 costumes, designs, photographs and other archival performing arts pieces might be as close as you’ll ever get to the infamous wardrobe scene in The Devil Wears Prada. See the relics left behind from a history of circus, dance, music, opera and theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne across the weekend – bookings are essential.

Inside a large wardrobe with multiple racks of clothing

Performing Arts Collection

Rod Laver Arena

After hosting thousands of events over 30 years, Rod Laver Arena is undergoing a bit of a makeover to reinvigorate this well known sports and entertainment venue. Now at the halfway point, you can check out where P!NK, Beyonce and countless tennis players have made fans go wild on a behind the scenes tour that includes the artists rooms and Superboxes. Bookings essential.

A scenic nighttime shot of an arena, the city skyline and citylights

Rod Laver Arena

Old Treasury Building

The Old Treasury Building is more than a trip down memory lane. One of Melbourne’s finest gold rush buildings, it’s home to the original vaults where gold bullion was stored. Explore them and the 1920s caretaker living quarters .

A sunny daytime drone shot of a large heritage building

Old Treasury Building

Australia 108

What’s old is new again at this unprecedented 319 metre high residential building, as Australia 108‘s ground floor podium has literally been built around a heritage façade. Once housing a timber mill and warehouse, the new plans for this Southbank based tower are more along the lines of luxury living, dining and entertainment. Visit the first completed stage of the build during Open House Weekend by booking a guided tour.

Limelight Studios

Hidden away in the attic of a building on Spring Street, the Limelight Studios date back to the 19th century where they were used as a photographic and film studio. By the time it closed in 1909 over 400 films had been produced there. Now housing a museum space, the Limelight Studios will be open for tours on both days of the weekend.

Blueprint plans of an older building

Limelight studios


Art imitates life at Banksia, a Docklands based building designed in response to the native Australian flower by the same name. Each apartment in this circular structure faces views of the water, the park or the city, making it a must see for fans of stunning scenery.  Tours will run every 30 minutes during the day.

RACV Tiny Home

Designed and built by Peter Maddison architects (who you may know from Grand Designs Australia), this minuscule abode will be located behind Her Majesty’s Theatre for curious eyes to peruse. Offering a very unique design and the latest in home technology, you might find yourself desperate to downsize upon exiting the Tiny Home.

New Academic Street at RMIT

The heart of RMIT University has been transformed with the recent New Academic Street redevelopment. Explore the latest rooftop garden spaces, glass-roofed arcades and outdoor terraces to promote mindfulness and encourage mental stimulation.

Glass ceiling with shadows and architecture

New Academic Street at RMIT

Eureka Tower

Once the tallest residential building in the world, the Eureka Tower’s 85th floor will be open for viewers to enjoy uninterrupted 360-degree views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. Bookings are released on 13 and 20 July at 8.30am, and are available until sold out.

Newman College at University of Melbourne

The heritage-listed Newman College is a Gothic Revival-style building complete with a top-lit dining hall and long low cloisters. Pre-booking is required for tours of this Harry Potter-style structure.

Night time photograph of old building

University of Melbourne, Newman College

Medibank Place

This Docklands-based office is determined to work around the needs of individual workers at Medibank Place. More than 26 types of work settings include quiet indoor spaces, wi-fi-enabled balconies, standing spots and collaborative hubs. Guided tours will be running continuously throughout the day.

The Grand Hotel – Hotel Windsor

Explore the secrets of The Hotel Windsor – one of the first heritage hotels in the world and the only surviving hotel of its type in Australia. The grand staircase, fire floor staircase landing and grand ballroom will be open to the public. Pre-booking is required for tours.

Spiral staircase as seen from the top

Grand staircase at The Hotel Windsor

More things to do at Open House

The Australian Ugliness Exhibition will be installed at the University of Melbourne’s Dulux Gallery, as an accompaniment to their month long program of talks and special events exploring the ethics and aesthetics of our nation today.

In partnership with ACMI, Open House Melbourne will be hosting Modernism at the Movies throughout July. Screening films that explore the world of modernist architecture in Australia and across the USA, this roster of scenic cinema is a must see for film and architecture buffs.

Looking for more inspiration? Head to Eight iconic city buildings to explore at Open House Melbourne