Open House Melbourne is an independent not-for-profit organisation that fosters public appreciation for architecture and public engagement in conversations about the future of our cities.

We do this through the much-loved Open House Weekend in Melbourne and regionally, where tens of thousands of people come out to celebrate architecture and the city. By opening up buildings, places and spaces, we’re inspiring public engagement in conversations about the future of our city. We are tackling big city topics through public talks, tours, and debates – we produce over 100+ special events that are designed to build a groundswell of interest in critical issues for the city.

By empowering people with knowledge around the impact of good design decisions in our built environment, we aim to ensure Victoria—and its capital city—remains a liveable and vibrant place now and into the future.

The organisation is part of the Open House Worldwide network, founded by Open House London 25 years ago and now in 60 cities around the world. The success of the Open House Weekend is due to its approach of offering diverse, direct design experiences, in an accessible and non-elitist manner. It annually reaches 750,000 people worldwide—the largest audience of any public-facing architecture program.



Open House Melbourne was founded by eight professionals under the aegis of the Committee for Melbourne’s 2008 Future Focus Group (FFG) leadership program. As the first event of its kind in Australia, the inaugural Melbourne Open House (its original title) in 2008 and the 2009 event were delivered under the FFG program.

Open House Melbourne became an independent entity in 2009 as an incorporated, not-for-profit association. Open House Melbourne is a self-sustaining, built environment focused public education organisation, and in 2011, continued its leadership role in this sector by becoming the first Southern Hemisphere member city to join the global network of Open House Worldwide.

Open House Melbourne is registered as a charity (as Melbourne Open House Inc) with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission ABN 68295482310.


The Open House concept was founded in London in 1992 by Victoria Thornton, aiming to create a wider community able to engage with architecture on their own terms and argue for a better quality of built environment.

Open House facilitates opportunities for a city’s inhabitants to directly experience how well-designed cities can improve their lives, by opening examples of architectural excellence to the public. These experiences stimulate dialogue about architecture and learning, which empowers people to advocate for a well-designed built environment.

The concept resonated with cities internationally and the organic growth of independent Open House cities led to the creation of the Open House Worldwide Family of affiliated cities in 2010, which has grown to more than 40 cities across five continents. The exponential growth of the concept suggests it is an international zeitgeist, revealing a global need for the experiences that Open House curates. It also signifies that the Open House concept is readily translatable. Direct experience is a universal means of ‘learning’ – it requires no specific or specialist knowledge or language and can be applied in any city.

The core of the Open House concept is simple, but powerful; facilitating direct experience of architectural excellence, free-of-charge, in a non-elitist manner as part of a process of catalysing design advocacy. The Open House approach is independent, apolitical, inclusive, and accessible. Open House is a worldwide phenomenon with common values, but each city operates at a local level – a feature that is critical to its success in a particular city. Programmes respond to the particularities of the local environment.