Open House program takes over July with RMIT Design Hub’s Occupied, the Speaker Series and more.

Open House Melbourne reveals its program for the month of July, with a series of events that encourage our city’s residents and visitors to further engage with the built environment and discover Melbourne anew. Explore buildings, infrastructure, landscapes and urban developments that illustrate our rich history, reflect how we live and work, and offer insights into our future city.

As part of the Open House July program, RMIT Design Hub’s Occupied exhibition opens on 29 July and invites viewers to immerse themselves in ideas of the ‘near future’ and consider the ‘era of the metropolis’: by 2050, it is estimated that Australia’s major cities will have nearly doubled in size and 70% of the world’s population will be urban.

Occupied, other others, Offset House, 2015. Photography: Otherothers
Occupied, other others, Offset House, 2015. Photography: Otherothers
Curated by Design Hub curator Fleur Watson and Grace Mortlock and David Neustein of Otherothers, the exhibition Occupied brings together local and international practitioners to showcase their proposals in response to today’s – and tomorrow’s – challenge: to find a space for an ever-growing populace with a finite and decaying urban fabric.

Creative thinkers at the forefront of the industry, such as Ash Keating, 5th Studio, Baracco + Wright Architects, Breathe Architecture, Callum Morton and Toby Reed, Flores Prats Architects, Jack Self, Lacaton & Vassal, Liam Young, MAPA, Office for Political Innovation, Otherothers, TOMA!, Vokes and Peters and Sibling among many others, present their ideas, approaches and strategies for housing more with less; retrofitting, adapting and repurposing existing structures and environments.

The annual Open House Speaker Series, supported by the Architecture Registration Board of Victoria, opens with Design City: Built Melbourne! on 30 July at Melbourne School of Design Auditorium at University of Melbourne. This annual talk presents a diverse cross section of design disciplines and building typologies that form the built fabric of Melbourne.

The projects will range from commercial buildings, educational buildings, heritage buildings, the humble home and a not-so-humble landscape. This is a rare opportunity to hear from the experts on the design process behind the built outcome.

The second talk in the series, hosted at RMIT’s Storey Hall on 27 July, will be conversation that connects with the key themes of RMIT Design Hub’s Occupied and explores the following provocation: “The transformative ideas of our time will not be sweeping and grandiose visions.

Today’s creative thinkers must find space for an ever-growing populace within a finite and decaying urban fabric. The ideas that thrive in this context will be small-scale, contingent and combinatory, operating at the margins or the in-between, within bureaucratic grey-zones or emerging economies.”

Open House Melbourne has partnered with Open Journal to present two panel discussions on High Density Happiness. On 13 July the culture of apartment living will be discussed in High Density Happiness: Elevating apartment standards. This session examines how we can develop apartments that take into account the needs of people at different life stages, particularly families.

The panel will also discuss the impact of design on liveability and how residents should be able to enjoy their apartments year round and at any time of day.

High Density Happiness: Curbing urban sprawl will take place on 21 July. To prevent excessive movement towards the urban fringe, much will need to be made of inner city land, especially around existing infrastructure such as train stations. Using Jewell Station as an example, this panel discussion will focus on finding a balance between affordability and liveability, with apartment quality, rather than size, a key consideration.

Off the back of the highly successful ‘What’s the Beef with Brutalism’ series of events held in May, which saw hundreds of Melburnians engage with the idea of valuing diverse and sometimes challenging buildings, Bunkers, Brutalism and Bloodymindedness will be screened once again at

ACMI on 28 July. DADo, The Robin Boyd Film Society will also host a Brutalism Love Fest on 27 July with a screening of Precise Poetry: The Architecture of Lina Bo Bardi.

Since 2008, Open House Melbourne has been championing the city’s architecture and built environment through the July Weekend and year-round program. Open House’s mission is to inform people about what makes for a well-designed, vibrant and liveable place now and in the future.

For more information on the July program, visit http://www.openhousemelbourne.org.

Image Credit: Occupied, other others, Offset House, 2015. Photography: Otherothers