Opening University of Melbourne 27th & 28th July

After years of transformative redevelopment projects across the University of MelbourneOpen House Melbourne visitors can be amongst the first to see these new, world-class spaces come to life over the Weekend on July 27 and 28. Over 16 sites and events that showcase the University’s investment in the built environment and as an education leader will be open to the public across the Southbank and Parkville Campus.


Located in the heart of Melbourne Arts Precinct,the Southbank campus of The University of Melbournewill open several ambitious, landmark projects this year. Highlights include:

The newly completed Ian Potter Southbank Centre(IPSC) that offers state-of-the-art teaching, learning, rehearsal and performance facilities in a building designed for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music by leading architect John Wardle Architects. It’s the $109m centrepiece of a once-in-a-generation transformation. Programming will include tours, special performances and a public talk featuring Professor Alan Pert (Melbourne School of Design) and Kah Fai Lee (John Wardle Architects).

Designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects with conservation works directed by Lovell Chen, The Stables (formerly home to the Victorian Police Riding Branch) have been transformed into dynamic visual art studios and a performance space, the Martyn Myer Arena, for the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music—proud home to the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. A major arts exhibition by the Faculty – First Commissions– will be shown in the Martyn Myer Arena during the Open House weekend, and Kerstin Thompson will be delivering the 2019 Heritage Address on Monday 15 July at Federation Hall in Southbank.

Melbourne’s major new contemporary art museum, Buxton Contemporaryis situated within the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music campus at Southbank and showcases the philanthropic gift of the Michael Buxton Collection to the Universityof Melbourne. Two expert talks over the weekend will discuss the building and its current collection. On Saturday 27 July there will be a Bauhaus Now! exhibition walk-through with curator Dr Ann Stephens and Professor Philip Goad, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor and Chair of Architecture, The University of Melbourne. On Sunday at 1pm – Fender Katsalidis will lead an architectural tour. Southbank Theatre by ARM Architects will host a special event over the Weekend, Designing Cultural Spaces and Precincts,that brings leading Melbourne architects Meaghan Dwyer (John Wardle Architects) and Ian McDougall (ARM Architects) together with journalist Ray Edgar. Hosted by Melbourne Theatre Company and the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, the event will use the Melbourne Arts Precinct in Southbank and some of the iconic buildings within it as a springboard to look at the evolution of this creative neighbourhood over the past decade and the art of designing cultural spaces.

Finally, visitors to the Southbank campus can tour the new home of the largest performing arts and music library collection in Australia: The Hubbuilding by Lyons Architects, a newly-completed, dynamic space that houses both rare archives and digital technology. 

Other buildings that will be open over the Weekend throughout Southbank include ABC Southbank Centre by Cox Architecture (2018), Australia 108designed by Fender Katsalidis, the Boyd Community Hub, and Testing Grounds, an outdoor temporary space that provides infrastructure for creative practices, encompassing art, performance and design. 


The University of Melbourne’s first campus at Parkville is also hosting a number of projects through Open House Melbourne this year. Highlights include:

Old Quad, arguably the most iconic building on the University of Melbourne Parkville campus. It has the strongest connection to the University’s fledgling years, and has been recently restored to reaffirm its place as the cultural, civic, engagement and ceremonial heart of the University.

Western Edge Biosciencesis the University’s first shared life sciences learning and teaching space, and was completed by architects Hassell in 2019. At our annual Speaker Series on Thursday 18 July, Design City: Built Melbourne! Sheree Proposch, Principal at Hassell, will be presenting the practice’s vision for the design of the building. ⠀

Arts Westis the University of Melbourne’s
new home to the Bachelor of Arts. Designed by ARM and Architectus, the building has been designed to influence the way students are taught, with an emphasis
on spaces that foster learning communities. 

The Dax Centre is a leader in the use of art to raise awareness and reduce stigma towards mental health issues illness. Housed in the award-winning Melbourne Brain Centre at the Parkville campus, the gallery seeks to engage, inform, and encourage community connections and conversations about mental health. Room with point of view is a theatrical tour of several usually unseen spots on the Parkville campus created and performed by Jetpack Theatre. 

Australian Modern: from the iconic to the everydayis an exhibition as part of the University of Melbourne’s BE–150 program celebrating 150-years of built environment education that will be held over the weekend at the Melbourne School of Design.Modern Melbourne is a series of filmed interviews and rich archival material that documents the extraordinary lives and careers of some of our most important architects and designers. A special screening of the 2019 Modern Melbourne extended interview with Dione McIntyre, a University of Melbourne architecture graduate, accomplished Melbourne architect, and Peter McIntyre’s business and life partner will take part on Thursday 25 July.

Other events open at the University of Melbourne Parkville Campus over the Open House Melbourne Weekend of July 27 and July 28 include the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, one
of Australia’s leading biomedical research organisations and the Grainger Museum, home to the unique archive and collection of Percy Grainger. Newman College, designed by Walter Burley Griffin in 1918, is also open over the weekend. The Gothic Revival style building of Newman College features a top
lit dining hall with long low cloisters and corridors. 

Visitopenhousemelbourne.orgfor the full program of talks, exhibitions and events happening throughout July and August. 

Open House Melbourne is an independent organisation that fosters public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in design in the built environment. We exist because we believe a more engaged public will result in better design outcomes for our buildings, our streets and our cities. We are registered as a charity (as Melbourne Open House Inc) with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission ABN 68295482310, we are part of the Open House Worldwide network, and we are an initiative of the Committee for Melbourne Future Focus Leadership Program.


First Commissions
Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 July, 10am – 4.00pm
Martyn Myer Arena & The Octagon, The University of Melbourne

Public Talk: Designing The Ian Potter Southbank Centre with Professor Alan Pert with Kah Fai Lee
Sunday 28 July, 1.30pm
Hanson Dyer Hall, The Ian Potter Southbank Centre
Free, bookings essential

Bauhaus Now!
Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 July, 11am – 5.00pm
Buxton Contemporary, Southbank Boulveward

Designing Cultural Spaces and Precincts
Saturday 27 July, 3pm-3.45pm
Southbank Theatre, The Sumner
Free – bookings essential