It’s Open House Melbourne time of year again – rug up, expect queues and plenty of Melbourne’s architectural gems as well as behind the scenes sneaky peeks.
When: 25/26 July 2015, most venues 10am – 4pm
Where: over 100 venues around Melbourne
We only managed a few Open House stops today (working around a netball match, an NGV opening and a family brunch – you know, usual busy weekend stuff).
Top of our list was Fly By Night at Hamer Hall – a curious interactive experience/performance experienced IRL (in real life) and also via an iPhone device. Tricky to explain but I have done my best in a separate review.
Our second destination was Medibank in the Docklands. By the time we got there it was 2.30pm and the queue was a two hour wait… I flashed our VIP media pass and we were granted access into the foyer but that was as far as it got us sadly.. no tour for us this year (Medibank was only open Saturday). The foyer looked interesting and was full of natural light from large windows either side. We decided the spiral ramp looked a bit like a water slide.
From Medibank we headed next door to AGL (many of the crowd that was turned away from Medibank went into AGL) and again found a decent queue – but were informed that it was an hour wait (maybe 45min). Thankfully the Open House volunteers here were receptive to my media pass and we were ushered to the front of the queue.
The AGL staff have only just moved into this new office building (when I say “just” I mean in June). It’s a paperless hot-desking affair which I know is the way of the future.. but while all this looks amazingly cool I am a little old fashioned. I like having my own chair, keyboard, mouse – hey even my own pile of papers and a notebook and pen. Still it’s curious to imagine life in such an office. The fit out is lovely – loads of timber, woollen upholstery and plants everywhere. The view is quite exciting – on one side is the fabulous roof of Southern Cross Station (which you can see from numerous vantage points) as well as views of the neighbouring buildings (Channel 9, NAB and Medibank) and then city skyline views and rail yard views… it would be quite dangerous to have a window set here.
AGL have made quite a few touches that reflect the community and diversity of their staff…. from small things like sparkling mineral water coming out of the sink taps (at the press of a button) to a parents room for breastfeeding your baby, a prayer room and also female squat toilets in one of the bathrooms. All of the work station desks have the ability to convert into standing or sitting desks – to allow staff the option to work standing up.
Open House Tips
If you are planing a day (or even a visit to just one venue) of Open House my top tip would be to go early in the day. When we arrived at Hamer Hall at 9.55am this morning there wasn’t a queue to be seen.. in fact the first few tours were half full and our experience, Fly By Night, was fully-booked out – but many of the early morning people hadn’t turned up (meaning those spots were available to drop ins). However going on our experience in the Docklands – late afternoon is busy at the more popular spots…
If you really have your heart set on somewhere go early, otherwise be prepared to queue or, worst case, be prepared to be turned away.
Check the map and make sure there is a plan B and C nearby, should your plan A be at capacity.
Finally remember all those people wearing orange scarves – they are volunteers. They love Melbourne and architecture and have given up their time to help. This is a FREE event that is made possible by the willingness of the venues and the help of volunteers.
More information, click here.