Category Archives: Melbourne Open House

Open House part 2 – Plaza Ballroom

by Lucy Feagins

The Regent Theatre’s Plaza Ballroom in Collins st

Another ‘better late than never’ post I’m afraid! These shots are from the Regent Theatre’s Plaza Ballroom, also on show as part of the recent Open House event in Melbourne’s CBD.

The ballroom, built in 1929, is lavishly decorated in ornate Spanish Colonial style – features include an indoor fountain, curved ‘Juliet’ balconies, bronze chandeliers, highly decorative faux windows (backlit to simulate moonlight!) and ornate handpainted ceilings (pictured below). A little kitsch, but utterly breathtaking.

Incredibly, the Plaza Ballroom as it stands today is a complete restoration of the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1945.

I just discovered another lovely photo of the Ballroom, and a collection of very sneaky photos of the Open House Capitol Theatre tour on a blog called the grapevine. Read the text too – very funny!

ornate detailing with a Spanish influence

Intricate decorative patterns on the ceiling (top image) and even in the carpet! (bottom image). Apparently parquetry flooring is laid over the top of this carpet when required. Big job!

Gargoyles guard the exit

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Open House – CH2

by Lucy Feagins

mechanical timber shutters on the facade of Council House 2 in Melbourne

Better late than never with this one… sorry, I took the Open House tour of Melbourne CH2 (Council House 2) building over a week ago (July 20th) and am only getting around to posting about it now… aaaggh. What can I say – it’s been a busy fortnight! Anyway… thought it might interest Melburnians to see some shots inside the stunning Council House building. Over 25,000 people turned out on the day to take a peek inside 9 of Melbourne’s most famous buildings… the queues around were INCREDIBLE! Many waited around 2 hrs at some locations… jeepers. It’s fantastic that so many people braved the cold to learn a little more about some of Melbourne’s architectural masterpieces… but next time I think it might be wise to allocate viewing times and tickets in advance!

Those in the know will be aware that CH2 is the first purpose built office building in Australia to achieve a 6 green star certified rating. This rating is a measure of the building’s energy and water efficiency, quality of environment and resource conservation. It seems every detail has been considered in achieving this rating – special ‘night-purge’ windows open every evening to allow the night breeze to naturally cool the interior of the building… a water-mining plant in the basement treats and recycles water for washing, cooling and watering of plants, and the striking facade of louvered timber shutters track the sun to control the temperature of the building. More detail here.

I was most impressed with the incredible rooftop garden – those lucky council employees get to eat their lunch up there everyday… aghh! Beautiful.

CH2 facade

CH2 stunning sculptural reception desk on the ground floor
CH2 rooftop garden
view from the top…. ahhhh!

interior – the ‘wave’ shaped ceiling maximises air flow and makes heating and cooling more efficient. Those ‘radiator’ looking things on the ceiling are actually chilled ceiling panels, circulating cold water to absorb radiated heat from occupants and equipment. The concrete ceilings also absorb excess heat.

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Melbourne Open House

Walls in the Labrinth under Federation Square

Manchester Unity Boardroom

The first ever Melbourne version of the hugely successful London and New York Open House events will see our city’s most intriguing buildings and hidden architectural treasures open to the public for one day, Sunday 20 July.

For more info on the day click here


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