16 free places to visit and things to do this weekend at Gold Coast Open House

Kurrawa SLC | Arkhefield | Photographer: Scott Burrows
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16 free places to visit and things to do this weekend at Gold Coast Open House

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This weekend thousands of Gold Coast locals and visitors are set to go behind the scenes of some of the city’s most iconic and celebrated buildings – and architectural secrets – as part of the 2022 Gold Coast Open House architecture festival.

Although many residential guided tours are already fully booked (at time of writing this there are a handful of tickets left for Phoenix House in Byron Bay!), Festival Chair Dr Rosemary Kennedy says there are still plenty of activities for people across the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers to enjoy.

“This weekend we’re throwing open the doors to everything from carbon neutral to narrow lot houses, sky-scraping residential towers to remote mountain cabins, and historical homes to major infrastructure such as the always popular desalination plant.”

“If you missed out on tickets to some of our guided tours, there are still many opportunities to enjoy the festival and gain access to some of our city’s most interesting architecture and hidden gems. This includes tours of community, historic and sustainable buildings & spaces, urban sketching, self-guided walking tours, and more.”

“If you missed out on a bookable tour, I would also recommend downloading the app and keeping your eye on tour bookings over the weekend…you just never know if a cancellation might come up and you can grab a last-minute ticket.”

16 free things to do and Places to visit this weekend

  1. Visit the innovative CORNERBLOCK in Arundel to see what can be achieved in the modern workplace when sustainability, energy efficiency and human well-being are front and centre in the design. Tours daily at 9am, 10am, 1pm and 2pm, and join designer Ben Sinclair for a Sustainable Design Q&A daily at 11am.
  2. Learn about the design of one of our most iconic surf clubs, the Kurrawa Surf Life Saving Club. Daily tours at 8am, 8:45am, 9:30am, 10:15am, 2pm and 2:45pm. Meet at reception.
  3. For those who like to explore on foot, take one of three self-guided walking tours. The tours take the in sites of our Surfers Paradise Towers of the 60s and 70s, Award Winning Contemporary Apartment Buildings, and the Historic Buildings of Southport. There will be two prizes of $1,000 each up for grabs as part of the annual Gold Coast Open House photography competition, sponsored by the Griffith University Cities Research Institute, with participants submitting selected photos from the self-guided walking tours.
  4. ArtWork in Mermaid Beach will be opening their doors for those interested in seeing behind-the-scenes of a creative design studio. Open Saturday from 10am-4pm or take a guided tour with Creative Director Claudio Kirac at 11am or 1pm.
  5. Feeling energetic? Join the team from degenhartSHEDD architects for a walking tour of the Lendlease-designed Varsity Lakes precinct. Saturday 10am-12pm.
  6. The screening of local indigenous documentary Yana Yenyin Baia (Go with the rising tide) will be followed by a panel discussion led by Shannon Best, Indigenous Oral History Officer at the City of Gold Coast. Sunday 3pm-4:30pm at HOTA.
  7. Join Seqwater for behind-the-scenes tours of the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and Hinze Dam – both still have a limited number of bookings available for Sunday.
  8. In the Northern Gold Coast, the expansive new Pimpama Sports Hub joins the program for the first time, with tours highlighting the design and sustainability features led by architects Liquid Blu and Place Design Group on Saturday only at 10am, 11am and 12pm. Please book online.
  9. For those who are more culturally minded HOTA will be leading tours of the iconic gallery and outdoor stage together with ARM Architects. Sunday at 1pm, 1:20pm and 1:40pm. Please book online.
  10. Join the Urban Sketchers Gold Coast at the Bond University Abedian School of Architecture on Saturday morning from 9am-12pm to sketch the beautiful environment around Bond. Amateurs welcome! Please book online to let them know you’re coming.
  11. Visit the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Burleigh Heads on Saturday morning from 9am-12pm and explore the traditional lives of the Yugambeh speaking people.
  12. The Ernest Junction Railway Tunnel is one of the Gold Coast’s best kept secrets. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about this piece of Gold Coast architectural history daily from 10am-4pm.
  13. Discover some of the Gold Coast’s restored historical homes with visits to Sheldon Cottage ‘Lindy’ (10am-2:30pm daily), the Spanish mission home Sata-Nita (10am-4pm Saturday), enjoy a devonshire tea at Preece House and Ceramic House (10am-3pm daily), and see how the pioneers lived at the Gold Coast Hinterland Heritage Museum (10am-2pm Sunday).
  14. Step inside the Gold Coast’s most recognisable seaside chapel at the Rotary Broadwater Chapel by the Sea. 10am-4pm Sunday with guided tours every half hour.
  15. Built by volunteers 55 years ago, the Tom Atkin Hall at Tugun is getting a much-needed facelift! Come along and find out more about this incredible community hall from none other than Philip Follent, former Gold Coast city architect and Queensland state architect. 9am-12pm Sunday.
  16. Year 10, 11 and 12 students thinking about a career in architecture can spend a morning getting a feel for the craft at Architect for a Day, presented by the Australian Institute of Architects. Bookings essential.
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