Open House Melbourne is an independent organisation that fosters public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in conversations about the future of our cities.
We do this through the much-loved Open House Weekend in Melbourne, Ballarat and now Bendigo, where tens of thousands of people come out to celebrate architecture and the city. Increasingly, we are tackling big city topics through major public talks, tours, and debates – we produce over 100+ special events that are designed to build a groundswell of interest in critical issues for the city.
By empowering people with knowledge around the impact of good design decisions in our built environment, we aim to ensure Victoria—and its capital city—remains a liveable and vibrant place now and in the future.
Over the course of 2019 we delivered three major public programs, ran 53 tours, facilitated 17 public discussions, supported 4 exhibitions, produced 4 workshops, hosted 3 screenings and opened 227 buildings in Melbourne and regional Victoria. With a total 2019 attendance of 113,485 we continue to build a groundswell of interest in critical issues about our built environment. 759 volunteers supported our 2019 programs and contributed more than 3,200 hours of their time.
Open House Melbourne is registered as a charity (as Melbourne Open House Inc) with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission ABN 68295482310. The organisation is part of the Open House Worldwide Network, founded by Open House London 25 years ago and now in 40 cities around the world. The success of the Open House Weekend is due to its approach of offering diverse, direct design experiences, free-of-charge, in a non-elitist manner. It annually reaches 750,000 people worldwide—the largest audience of any public-facing architecture program.
The original Open House Weekend was an initiative of the Committee for Melbourne, Future Focus Group.
OPEN HOUSE WORLDWIDE
The Open House concept was founded in London in 1992 by Victoria Thornton, aiming to create a wider community able to engage with architecture on their own terms and argue for a better quality of built environment.
Open House facilitates opportunities for a city’s inhabitants to directly experience how well-designed cities can improve their lives, by opening examples of architectural excellence to the public. These experiences stimulate dialogue about architecture and learning, which empowers people to advocate for a well-designed built environment.
The concept resonated with cities internationally and the organic growth of independent Open House cities led to the creation of the Open House Worldwide Family of affiliated cities in 2010, which has grown to more than 40 cities across five continents. The exponential growth of the concept suggests it is an international zeitgeist, revealing a global need for the experiences that Open House curates. It also signifies that the Open House concept is readily translatable. Direct experience is a universal means of ‘learning’ – it requires no specific or specialist knowledge or language and can be applied in any city.
The core of the Open House concept is simple, but powerful; facilitating direct experience of architectural excellence, free-of-charge, in a non-elitist manner as part of a process of catalysing design advocacy. The Open House approach is independent, apolitical, inclusive, and accessible. Open House is a worldwide phenomenon with common values, but each city operates at a local level – a feature that is critical to its success in a particular city. Programmes respond to the particularities of the local environment.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE FUNDAMENTAL DESIGN CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME.
Open House Melbourne acknowledges the scientific consensus regarding the reality of human-induced climate change and the substantial contribution construction and our built environment make to global greenhouse gas emissions.
Open House Melbourne is committed to supporting endeavours to reduce emissions and showcasing the critical role of good design in making our cities sustainable.
Open House Melbourne was founded by eight professionals under the aegis of the Committee for Melbourne’s 2008 Future Focus Group (FFG) leadership program. As the first event of its kind in Australia, the inaugural Melbourne Open House (its original title) in 2008 and the 2009 event were delivered under the FFG program.
Open House Melbourne became an independent entity in 2009 as an incorporated, not-for-profit association. Open House Melbourne is a self-sustaining, built environment focused public education organisation, and in 2011, continued its leadership role in this sector by becoming the first Southern Hemisphere member city to join the global network of Open House Worldwide.
Fleur Watson, Executive Director and Chief Curator
Helen Sweatman, Business and Operations Manager
Isabella Radevski, Program and Communications Manager
Piera Maclean, Program and Events Coordinator
In addition to the team and a vital and dedicated group of volunteers, Open House Melbourne is governed by seven Management Committee Members:
Stuart Harrison, Director, Harrison & White
Open House Melbourne Board Member and President
Emma Telfer, Director of Culture and Strategy, Assemble
Open House Melbourne Board Member and Vice President
Amy Muir, Director, MUIR Architecture
Open House Melbourne Board Member and Secretary
Matthew Bowen, CA, Director, Syracuse
Open House Melbourne Board Member and Treasurer
Jeremy King, Partner, Pinsent Masons
Open House Melbourne Board Member
Naomi Stead, Professor of Architecture, Monash University
Open House Melbourne Board Member
Mark Davis, Technology Director, Today
Open House Melbourne Board Member
OUR AMBASSADOR, PETER MADDISON
Architect, Grand Designs Australia Host and champion of good design, Peter generously dedicates so much time to raising the profile of our organisation.
Neil Harkness (chair), Andrew Purvis, Eleni Kaponis, Eloise Glanville, Joy Villalino, Victoria Bennett, and Stephanie Bateman.
Steve Stefanopoulos (chair), Anna O’Sullivan, Melany Hayes, Bec McHenry, Kat Smith, Phoebe Harrison, and Tania Davidge.
Ben Morgan, Charles Tremlett, Damian Butler, Damian Sabatini, Emma Appleton, Jacqueline Di Blasi, Kim Irons, Leo Martin, Marcia Gray, Mark Davis, Mary Dougherty, Nathan Milesi, Nic Culnane, Nick Rouse, Paul Borella, Rohan Trollepe, Sophie Newing, Steven Neave, Danielle Johnston, Sally Dobell.
10+ YEAR VOLUNTEERS
Anna O’Sullivan, Damian Sabatini, Dianne Robertson, Eloise Glanville, Glenn Pountney, Heather Knowles, Ian Fletcher, Jackline Jap, Jennifer Halat, Jill Medwin, Joan Leslee, John Doré, John Pinniger, Joy Vandoske, Karen Minahan, Ken Hall, Keryn Gange, Kieran Leong, Luise Raeder, Lynne Pepper, Mairi Neil, Margot Clark, Mary Pountney, Nathan Milesi, Neil Harkness, Nic Culnane, Peter Giles, Peter Swann, Rachael Parnes, Rebecca Le Get, Richard Mandziak, Robert Smith, Ron Cruickshank, Ross Pinniger, Susan McDougall, Suzanne Ballard, and Vanessa Chow.
Charles Tremlett, Hugh Falcon, Marcia Gray, Nathan Milesi, Shaun Newing, Simon Johnson, Steven Neave, Tim Leslie
Joy Villalino & Alan Shaw