Future promises while celebrating our architectural heritage    

Brisbane Open House puts design and architecture front and centre for the city.
Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane Photo: Christopher Frederick Jones

Open House started life some 30 years ago in London, when 800 sites in the city were recognised as having both significance and historical value. Its founder, Victoria Thornton, had the idea that opening up historical sites freely to the public at certain times during the year would both create a sense of pride and public interest, as well as importantly ensuring their survival. Brisbane Open House began in 2010 as part of a broader movement that now involves over 60 cities across the world.  

Malcolm Middleton, formerly Brisbane’s Chief Architect, has chaired the organisation in Brisbane since 2011 and tells ArtsHub: ‘Open House is an annual celebration of architecture, good design, urbanism and allied interest that is a one-off free event held annually over a weekend. The event has grown steadily over those years and before COVID we reached a peak of 120 buildings in the program with over 85,000 visits.’ 

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Suzannah Conway is ArtsHub's Brisbane-based Arts Feature Writer. Suzannah is an experienced arts administrator, having been CEO of Opera Queensland, the Brisbane Riverfestival and the Centenary of Federation celebrations for Queensland. She has been writing reviews and music articles for over 15 years and regularly reviews classical music, opera and musical theatre in particular for The Australian and Limelight magazine as well as other journals.