Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Open House Saturday afternoon

After a long morning out seeing the house Airlie, we decided we had done our Open House adventures for the day. We had to go into town to buy some chocolates as a gift for a friend who had invited us for dinner in the evening. As we passed Melbourne Town Hall in the tram we noticed the building next to the town hall was open and I have always wanted to see it. When Open House began, there used to be huge queues but no queues were obvious to us.

The building is City of Melbourne offices and known as Council House 2. It has a six star energy rating and opened in 2006. You can see the facade and more details about CH2 at Wikipedia. The timber shutters at the front of the building move automatically, depending on the weather, sunlight and the time.

We did queue briefly. I am not sure what these were about, but they were quite mesmerising.


One poster mentions that while office pot plants normally need to be rotated every two months, in CH2 the air is of such high quality that the plants thrive for much longer before they need changing. The other mentions purge windows that open at night to let hot air out and cool fresh air in. It suggests that the savings in productivity and reduced sick leave over a conventional office building is above $2 million a year, so the building is well on the way to paying for its green credentials.


The reception desk is made from fallen storm victim trees in Fawkner Park. We went up in the lift to mid building and listened to a short lecture from one of the designers. He spoke of all sorts of features, like water running down outside windows for cooling, cold water panels in the ceilings, black and grey water recycling., lighting, heating, on and on but I could have listened to a lot more. He was being time managed by staff though.


We climbed stairs to the rooftop. I think it is an eleven storey building, which is not that high, but there were fine views. The Commonwealth Bank building dominates in this photo.


A demonstration was under way. After buying the chocolates we caught a tram straight home, which was just a crawl with many trams in front of us, all delayed by the demonstration.


Two wonderful buildings, Manchester Unity House on the left and the Century Building  on the right. The last time I was in the Century Building a couple of years ago, it still had a lift operator, which rather stymied my snooping and snapping plans.


The three yellow towers vent air and they the turbines used to generate electricity but they were deemed too expensive to  maintain over what they generated, so they were locked into a static position. A few of the building's features were changed. I recall the interior lighting had to be upgraded as staff found the interior too dark.


The 88 storey Eureka Tower on the south bank of the Yarra River.


This is an artist's concept of the rooftop garden. Believe me, it was nothing like that with very little greenery  and the only reason you would visit up there is for the views. They are however experimenting with various plants up there, so it is actually a roof top horticultural lab.


Melbourne Town Hall clock and the spire of St Pauls with the Arts Centre Spire across the river in the background. While it makes no sense to me at all, the Highrise can be seen just to the right of the church spire about two kilometres away.

I had to work the next day, Sunday, but R had his own little Open House adventure. More another day.

18 comments:

  1. The city has that slightly smaller, untidy look,that New York has...
    I like it

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    1. Yes John, especially this part of it. Below is the main street, car free.

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  2. Love these pics and journey, wish I'd gone to the Council Building that has interested me for ages.

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    1. It was interesting Jayne. I think so many people have seen it since Open House began, it is not as popular now.

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  3. It is interesting that architecture can lead to "reduced sick leave". I had imagined that sick leave was caused by flu, chicken pox or broken bones from football, so I would like to know what your guide had in mind.

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    1. Hels, it is as much the way the air moves around the building and it certainly has reduced infection by air borne germs. Most offices have air recycling through a building, whereas CH2 does not. It's quite fascinating.

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  4. We went to see Airlie, since we live just around the corner, but there was a queue and we heard an Open House volunteer say the wait would be about 40 minutes and we decided it wasn't worth it. Was it?

    We went to have a look at Como House instead.

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    1. Jayne, yes it was, just to learn the history of the place and some copper anecdotes. I think it will be open next year and with all the local oldies having seen it this year, it won't be so busy.

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  5. Next year I want to see 700 Bourke St!

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    1. Fen, Bourke Street only goes to 600 odd. Ah, you mean across Spencer Street. Sounds good.

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  6. CH2 sounds a great building. We have one like that in Brisbane. It is a government building.

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    1. Diane, it takes governments to build such high energy star rated buildings. Interesting.

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  7. I like the idea of your open houses, I wish we had them here.
    The items in the first photo are wonderful. Is it water inside them? They'd look quite good in our entrance porch - could you pop back and slip them into your handbag for me?
    I also really like the front desk - what a great use of a fallen tree.

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    1. Craig, I don't have a clue about what powered the water vortexes, but they would be a nice feature on the hall table.

      It is always great to see timber reused, rather than just burnt as in times past.

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  8. Using the wood from storm fallen trees is a great idea, but I don't like that desk at all. It looks too much like a boat. I like boats, but not as desks.

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    1. River, it is a great reuse. It is like a boat and I don't have a clue why.

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  9. It sounds similar to 140 William St here in Perth too Andrew, I love that Aimee works in that environment ..she used to work in Dumas House which was deemed a 'sick' building..now of course its all been revamped for ministers, typical hey!

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    1. Grace, I don't know if formal studies were conducted, but not working in a sick building seems to make a huge difference.

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