Open House Melbourne Executive Director Emma Telfer, Art Gallery of Ballarat Director Gordon Morrison and City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh.

A number of Ballarat’s most significant buildings, both contemporary and heritage, will be open to the public during Open House Weekend – 28-29 October 2017.

Ballarat is a city that is steeped in history and rich in architecture, old and new, and will become Victoria’s first regional host of the global Open House movement, in partnership with Open House Melbourne.

City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said many people were intrigued to see places and spaces that they haven’t been able to before.

More than 20 buildings, including private houses, architecturally significant buildings and landscapes will be open for viewing.

“It’s an opportunity that people don’t always get, but they really want,” Cr McIntosh said.

“It’s much more sensible for us to be backing up with great success and our relationship with Melbourne is a very important one.” Open House Melbourne Executive Director Emma Telfer said Ballarat is now part of a powerful movement that advocates for better designed cities by encouraging civic participation.

“The success of Open House is due to its approach of offering diverse, direct design experiences, free of charge,” she said.

“You are invited to explore outstanding private houses, significant commercial and civic buildings, infrastructure and landscapes that illustrate our rich history, reflect how we live and work and offer insights into our future city.” Many buildings will offer ‘self guided’ tours while other buildings will have guided tours at specific times.

Four buildings will have pre-booked tours only, due to their limited capacity or for privacy reasons.

Some of the buildings that will be open include: Two Halves House, Piermont House, Ballarat Art Gallery, Bishop’s Palace Gardens, Ballarat Trades Hall, Ballarat Integrated Regional Cancer Centre, Ballarat Town Hall, Mars Stadium, Ballarat Clarendon College, Former Sisters of Mercy Convent, Loreto College, Selkirks House.

Organisers advise to expect queues as some buildings can only take limited numbers at a time, as they may be very popular.