23 Oct 2019

Celebrating ten years of providing residents and visitors a rare look inside some of Brisbane’s most remarkable buildings and urban spaces – the 2019 program was the largest and most successful yet.

When the event started, there were many sceptics. It was thought that Brisbane residents were not interested in their built environment – they have been proven wrong. The first Brisbane Open House in 2010 saw 20 buildings opened on the Open House weekend and recorded about 12,000 visits across the event. This year, 119 places were open on the weekend of 12-13 October, enticing 80,000 visitations across the event and a wide range of lead-up events including Speaker Series, After Dark and walking tours.

Open House is a simple but powerful concept: showcasing outstanding architecture for all to experience, completely free of charge. Open House initiatives invite everyone to explore and debate the value of a well-designed built environment.

The event has maintained a principle of showcasing a 50/50 ratio of new and heritage buildings. The other important principle has been that each year around 30 per cent of the buildings are different from those open the year before.

Brisbane Open House is a community event which exudes an enormous amount of goodwill. It relies on the amazing generosity of building owners, managers, architects, volunteers and a tiny band of enthusiastic staff to make it happen each year. Open House events are also held in regional Queensland centres of Gold Coast (held on 19 October), Sunshine Coast, Maryborough, Cairns and Toowoomba.

Around the grounds at Brisbane Open House 2019.

The continued growth of the event over 10 years is a clear demonstration of the community interest in the design of the built environment. This broad interest encourages informed debate and will help Brisbane remain a very liveable city as it faces the issues of continuing rapid growth. It also makes a strong statement to our politicians that the built environment and design is important to the community.

Urbis were once again a proud sponsor of this year’s event. Before joining Urbis, Ben Lyons and Stewart Armstrong were both part of the Brisbane Open House Organising Committee for the event’s first 6 years, proving a strong connection and passion for the event.

Brisbane Open House is much more that an open weekend, it is a festival that includes many other events and programs, at which Urbis was well represented – including the launch, the industry networking event, the international lecture, the media launch and the thank you event.

Ben Lyons (far left) and Mark Damant (far right) speaking at the Brisbane Open House After Dark lead-up event “Placemaking, Tourism and Our City” hosted by Howard Smith Wharves.

Urbis also hosted a Brisbane Open House After Dark lead-up event ‘Placemaking, Tourism and Our City’ hosted by Howard Smith Wharves, which included Urbis Directors Ben Lyons and Mark Damant as speakers. Design Director James Tuma also achieved a match-winning performance in the Brisbane Open House Great Debate entitled ‘Good Design Can Save The World’.

Several properties and projects Urbis has been involved in were open as part of this year’s program, including the Mercedes Benz Lifestyle Precinct opened earlier this year, Howard Smith Wharves built in the 1930s-40s and reopened last year and the Craigston apartments completed in 1927 for which Urbis provided heritage advice.

Header image: Newstead House