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Knock Knock: Open House Melbourne

In its sixth year, Open House Melbourne continues to showcase secret spaces of the city’s most interesting and significant buildings. Annie Reid puts Melbourne under the microscope.

Knock Knock: Open House Melbourne


August 2nd, 2013

Standing tall on Swanston Street is Sean Godsell’s new RMIT Design Hub. Emerging as a shimmering metal box, the building offers a series of museum-esque spaces including a rooftop deck, designed to stimulate curiosity.

Melbourne Open House RMIT indesignLive

Embarking on our guided tour, Godsell explains: “I should be silent and let the building speak for itself” and that it’s “contrived to allow people to run into each other”.

He could have been speaking about the overall event. For one weekend, 111 buildings took centre stage across seven precincts, drawing thousands of design and architecture aficionados who waited patiently to gain access or be ticked off a ballot list.

Melbourne Open House indesignLive

The less squeamish headed to the University of Melbourne’s Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology. Not open to the public, the museum includes more than 1200 human specimens on display, as well as old historic material such as Ned Kelly’s death mask. Around 100 bodies are donated bodies each year and the museum is also used by medical students to learn more about the human body.

Melbourne Open House indesignLive

In the north, interior designer, Amanda Lynn opened the doors to her and her husband’s 5m by 16m home – Little Black Number.

melbourne open house

NO.5 Little Black Number and Manchester Unity Building

Within an industrial mechanics precinct, the compact property-cum-office features a black palette and uses other spatial devices to blur the boundaries, including transparency and reflective techniques. Regardless of where you stand, the house cleverly extends your vision beyond.


Finally, it was off to the jewel in Melbourne’s crown – the Manchester Unity building. Under the chairmanship of Dr Kia Pajouhesh, the building’s Gothic Modern roots have been lovingly restored since he bought level one and subsequent floors in 2003.

Unable to attend OHM, Dr Pajouhesh created an animated pre-recording that was played throughout the tour. He detailed the building’s dark past, history of restoration and key architectural elements as we moved through the level one ground floor arcade, level 11 boardroom and rooftop entertainment area, with arguably the best views of the city.

Open House Melbourne


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