greaseproof architecture since 2000

Open Sesame

Titles Office detail of fire door
Former Land Titles Office – fire door

It’s that time of year when dusty old Melbourne buildings fling their doors open for 12 hours of inspection by hoi polloi. This Saturday and Sunday, enter the city with a comfortable pair of shoes and have a good poke around.

Open House Melbourne is now in its fifth year, and has grown again. This year one gadzillion buildings will be open and over 100,000 citizens are expected to attend. This might be off-putting, but I have attended most years and never had to queue for anything. I have avoided the Russell Place substation for this reason though.

The effort by the OHM team has been mighty, once again. As will be this year’s 800 volunteers. Show them a little appreciation and attend.

Having gotten quite lost in their website (the mobile version is easier to navigate), I thought I’d drop some tips here. What I would give for a giant PDF… I have left out the buildings you can wander through anytime, pre-balloted tours, and ones in the ‘burbs.

Buildings I’ve been to which were pretty bloody OK.

  • Capitol Theatre. Burley-Griffin and Mahoney’s big urban moment. Access to some out of bounds areas I think… OHM link
  • Myer Mural Hall. I only saw this while drunk at a function, but it was a surprise to find it still there at the top of the new escalators. OHM link
  • Former Land Titles Office. Just a real treat. Not what you’d expect from the outside. OHM link ( This one was a REAL surprise. Very recommended. )
  • Mission to Seafarers. A fun spanish mish-mash with a special dome room – unfortunately it now has a false floor. OHM link post

Buildings I haven’t been to, but would like to get to…

  • Forte. OHM link (In construction cross-laminated timber apartment building) UPDATE – only the site perimeter is open now.
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital tunnels. OHM link
  • 32 Kerr Street by NMBW. OHM link
  • The Bastow Institute by Maddison Architects. OHM link

Tours include:

  • The lighting tour – see Ian Dryden turn Melbourne’s lights on and off with an iPhone.
  • Soundwalks by the Australian Forum of Acoustic Ecology.
  • Barchitecture bar tours with Mark Healy from Six Degrees.

Batman Kangan TAFE, Docklands
Batman Kangan TAFE, Docklands

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Posted by Peter on 27.07.12 in 



Hi am an historian currently writing the history of the former Land Titles Office. Love your image of the gears in the shutters and was wondering if I could have permission to reproduce it in my book.

hopefully, Robin

by robin grow on 28/08/12 ·#

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