Doors open to Brisbane’s hidden gems

JACOBBE McBRIDE AND STAFF WRITERS

This year’s edition of Brisbane Open House promises to be bigger and better than ever, giving visitors the chance to explore a treasure trove of buildings and places that are normally hidden from the public eye.

Archerfield Airport

Aviation buffs are sure to be flying in to get a behind-the-scenes look at Archerfield Airport during Brisbane Open House 2018. Photo: Joel Dickson

The two-day event, which is in its ninth year, runs over the weekend of October 13 to 14 and is held in conjunction with World Architecture Day.

This year 114 buildings and sites will be open for the event, ranging from historic buildings such as the Mount Crosby Pumping Station and the city’s Howard Smith Wharves to more modern examples of architecture, such as the ABC Brisbane Centre in South Brisbane and Spring Hill’s Spire Residences.

Some of the quirkier places people can explore during Brisbane Open House include the Roma Street Fire Station, Spring Hill’s Old Windmill Tower, Fortitude Valley’s 4ZZZ building, Indooroopilly’s Walter Taylor Bridge and the Airport Link M7 Operations Centre.

Brisbane Open House event manager Angie Scott said Open House offered a unique opportunity for people to engage with and embrace the heritage and the culture upon which Brisbane was built.

Although the event incorporates both guided and self-guided tours of the many “open” properties, as well as more traditional walking tours, Ms Scott said this year’s Brisbane Open House would also feature a range of special events to appeal to wide range of people.

Special events include a Design Market Place in Burnett Lane, which offers designer talks and guided tours, and the Desire Line Laneway Party, which includes entertainment and communal dining, as well as concerts, children’s activities and an architectural photography competition.

There is even a World Expo ‘88 Public Art Trail to celebrate the 30th anniversary of World Expo in Brisbane, and a Green Heart Tree Tour that is billed as a tree-mendous journey to the heart and lungs of the city.

Old Government House Brisbane

Popular Brisbane Open House destination, Old Government House, illustrates how Brisbane’s architectural heritage withstands the test of time. Photo: Brisbane Open House

This year the festival will also launch a free series called Brisbane Open House After Dark, which will include a series of panels and talks on architecture and design.

“There are many new and exciting events, which cater for everyone at the festival in 2018,” Ms Scott said.

“They range from events for kids like the Colour Hunt and Little City Makers Workshop,” she said.

“The adults aren’t forgotten with the chance to ‘speed-date an architect’ through to an exclusive event called Made in Brisbane.”

“It is about celebrating the manufacturing and craft industries here in Brisbane, and is sure to be a popular event.”

Ms Scott said the aim of Brisbane Open House was to encourage people to go out and discover their city and surrounding areas, no matter where they lived, and engage with both private and common properties.

The local event is part of a global event that began in London 36 years ago, and Ms Scott said the Brisbane Open House event had now extended its reach beyond the city, to incorporate locations on the Queensland coast, including Bundaberg.

“Essentially the Queensland Government and Queensland Development Association (QDA) saw a gap in the market to showcase architecture, design and heritage specific to Queensland, to Brisbane and to our story,” she said.

“We aim to showcase to people, whether they’re involved with architecture or not, sites and buildings in their local areas that have a rich history they may not have known about,” Ms Scott said.

“We are constantly looking to refresh things,” she said.

With last year’s event attracting more than 67,000 visitors, organisers say the more popular open house locations, such as Government House and Boggo Road Gaol, should be booked in advance via their website.

Brisbane City Hall

Brisbane City Hall is a popular venue during Brisbane Open House. Photo: Maria Medina

Open House chairman Malcolm Middleton said the properties on offer for the event varied from year to year, which helped keep the event fresh and interesting.

“We annually rotate 30 per cent of the sites and buildings that are available for the public to observe and interact with,” Mr Middleton said.

“This way we retain interest both locally and interstate in the event,” he said.

“For example, there are 114 buildings and sites on show this year, such as waterworks and reservoirs.”

“Some have not been available for the public to access before, so it’s an exciting prospect.”

The majority of the sites and buildings taking part in Brisbane Open House will offer free entry.

There are, however, opportunities to purchase tickets to exclusive locations, which Mr Middleton said he believed would be “an absolute treat” for guests.

Mr Middleton said 2018 was the first year that the Open House event had had the endorsement of the Brisbane City Council.

He said the council’s involvement this year had been crucial in event promotion.

“They acknowledged that it [Brisbane Open House] is crucial in the promotion of the city and as such have obliged with things like road closures for our opening lane party,” Mr Middleton said.

To find out more about the events happening during Brisbane Open House 2018 or to book a space on one of the tours, visit their website.

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