Monday, August 01, 2011

Melbourne's Open House 2011

The lass in the ABC shop lamented that as she was working both days, she could not do Melbourne Open House. She was under 30 and we were two gay men past 50. She had the appropriate ABC shop snootiness, but was kind of friendly too. Let us just conclude she measured her tones.

Well shop assistant person, I have to work on Sunday at a very unglamorous job, so I can't do Open House either, but I can do it today. Strike this one from the list on Saturday. Strike that one, but still plenty left.

This year's event was attended by Victoria Thornton who started London's open house scheme in 1992.

We tried for the the ANZ Gothic Bank. I don't know why. You can see the features anyway if you go to the bank??? The queue was very long. We bailed.

Myer Mural Hall, so easy. Gorgeous.

I am a veteran of Melbourne Open House, that is I did it last year. I know how it works.

Her Majesty's Theatre. How lucky can you be if you get the theatre manager to show you around.

Something old, something new, something blue. I wasn't getting married but I like to counter balance the marvellous old against the new, and the Grollo Pixel building did not disappoint. Can you not appreciate the greenest building in the world?

As Pixel is not inhabited by tenants, it's methane generation electrical system is not working well. To put it nicely, it needs more shit. It is about to be occupied by the mangers of the of the CUB redevelopment site, so I expect the lack of shit will be remedied.

The Myer Mural Hall is used for fashion parades and similar events. Is it the finest Art Deco interior in Australia? You be the judge.

If you need to make a grand entrance..

When the best Art Deco is not enough, we saw some more at Her Majesty's Theatre. Those of us of a certain age will remember the present owner Mike Walsh, of daytime tv fame. HM is in competition with the David Marriner owned Regent and Princess theatres. HM wins by being very accommodating to producers. The personal touch, you might say. Back stage is an absolute rabbit warren. If you put together all the stairs we traipsed, they would reach the moon.

HM used to have the original portrait of Dame Nellie, but it is now in the National Gallery of Victoria.

The wall of fame somewhere backstage. There were some very famous names. This shot has the late Ricky May, among others.

Maggie Smith loves Melbourne.

The north facing wall of the Pixel building. Lots of shading and glare reduction from the hot summer sun.

Not quite as much shading on the western wall and there was very little on the southern wall.

Wind turbines, solar panels, rooftop garden beds. With average annual rainfall, the building could almost be self sufficient with only a small amount of black waste discharged to the sewer.

It wasn't that long ago that truck after truck of barrels of beer would depart Carlton United Breweries. The buildings are mostly gone.

Did you want another stylish interior? We had to go to David Jones to buy something. I had never been in their lift. Nice nice.


  1. You missed something special with the bank... it is the loveliest neo-Gothic building in Australia (1880s) AND IT WASN'T PULLED DOWN! I am not a fan of religious neo-Gothic normally and this was secular, but it is gorgeous. Thanks to the English, Scottish & Australian Bank.

    And yes, the Myer Mural Hall has a really lovely Art Deco interior.

  2. Hels, there is a large room just off Collins Street that I have been into. There must a lot more than that to see or why would so many queue for so long? It is a beautiful building, inside and out.

  3. Ahh, I missed out again but thanks for the virtual tour, the interiors are gorgeous :)

  4. Hello Andrew:
    What a wonderful post which really does, thanks to your pictures, illustrate some of the many delights of the Open House scheme. You do have some extraordinarily good architecture on your doorstep, both old and new, and, as you must find, it is fascinating to explore some of the buildings, or parts of them, not normally open to the public.

    We were thrilled to see that Maggie Smith, the best friend of a very close friend of ours, loves Melbourne!!

  5. I don't what style Sydney's State Theatre is regarded as being but it has a magnificent interior.

  6. The Myer Mural Hall is truly lovely. If I was filthy rich and having any kind of party, that's where I'd have it.

  7. Chum up with us next year Jayne, and we have a fine time.

    Thanks JayLa. The thing to do is make sure we protect our old buildings and streetscapes, and not just the stunning buildings.

    I don't know either Victor. Let us just say sumptuous. I have mentioned before, I think, that we saw it after its last renovation in the early eighties, and saw the movie Flesh(sic) Gordon. It is to be treasured especially as Sydney has so little to treasure :-P

    River, I'll have a significant birthday in a few years. I wonder what it would cost to hire? I feel a reverse mortgage coming on.

  8. I'm confused by your first paragraph. Did you know this woman? Were you trying to recruit her into joining the touring festivities? Did you want a tour of the ABC shop?

    I'm so lost.

    But it sounds like a fun event.

  9. You've made me regret never being part of Melbourne Open House and even more embarrassed that I'd never heard of it before.

    Love your photos though!

  10. Sorry Dina, it was badly written. I confused myself. Not important anyway.

    Thanks Kath. I think this is the fourth time. It gets bigger every year. This may not be a good thing for those of us who hate queues.

  11. Anonymous8:11 pm

    I wish I'd gone to see Mural Hall. I went up there a couple of weeks ago hoping to see it but it was all locked up, with just a glass door for the masses to peer through. I went to Charm School there!!! (If you knew me, you would now be ROFLYHO-ing)

  12. RJ, or should I say June Dally Watkins graduate, maybe next year. It was one of the easiest places to see.

  13. Wow!! Such a great array of gorgeousness!! Your nomination for the best art deco interior in OZ gets no argument from me ... but what would I know?! I'll let you know if I find a better one ...

  14. Please do so Red, especially if you find one in Oodnadatta? The best Art Deco interior of its kind was written on the brochure.


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