News Day

Open House doors swing open


Architecture and design are on show this weekend as part of the third annual Open House Perth drawing attention to the city’s modern spectacles and hidden treasures.

More than 70 destinations are on show this year, including public buildings and houses spread over Perth’s CBD and inner suburbs.

In Mount Hawthorn, ANZAC Cottage, built in 1926, was open to the public.

The cottage was built in one day by the Mt Hawthorn community as a home for Anne Chapple’s grandfather, Private Cuthbert Porter who was one of the first soldiers to land in Gallipoli.

Mrs Chapple said ANZAC Cottage was a very important part of her family history.

Mrs Chapple standing with her mother Mrs Marjorie Porter in the room she was born.

Mrs Porter with Mrs Chapple in the room in which Mrs Porter was born.

“It’s home for us,” she said, even though the family has not lived there since the early 1980s.

“It’s a remembrance from my grandparents and my mum has strong memories of living here.

“My mother was born in this house and she lived here until she was 21.”

Mrs Chapple said the cottage – which was Australia’s first memorial to the Great War – is still a symbol of the respect and regard people have for Australia’s servicemen and women.

“I open the cottage every month because it’s wonderful hearing other people’s stories,” she said.

“The Cottage is a place where people can come to remember and be thankful.”

Marjorie Porter was born in ANZAC Cottage on January 3, 1921 and has very fond memories of the house.

“I used to get a little bit indignant about people walking on the footpath and reading the marble plaque outside,” she said.

Mrs Porter said the cottage was a very important part of growing up.

“It’s the history of so many people trying to do the right thing, trying to protect their shores and fighting for their country.”

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Over in the heart of Perth’s Cultural Centre, the Art Gallery of Western Australia is a popular location for the annual Open House.

“I think it’s nice to open houses up that are usually closed to the public, and let them see what’s going on inside the building,” tour guide Timo Bleeker said.

Art gallery tour guides, Timo Bleeker and Nelly Kohar

Art gallery tour guides Timo Bleeker and Nelly Kohar

With a design inspired by the Mexican Museum of Anthropology, the gallery’s main building is modernist in style and was designed by architect Charles Sierakowski.

“It’s great that we can see what the architecture is like and to promote architecture to the public,” Mr Bleeker said.

Museum-goer Rebecca Wallace from Manjimup visited the art gallery with her daughters while the three were in town.

“I love all the different things about the art gallery,” Ms Wallace said.

Mr Bleeker said he first volunteered for Open House last year.

“Even more buildings are participating this year, so we believe there will be an even larger crowd,” he said.​


Alongside bigger buildings such as Parliament House and the Telstra Exchange, smaller studios have opened their doors to highlight work within.

Kings Street Studio co-owners Nic Brunsdon and Jordy Hewitt

King Street Studio co-owners Nic Brunsdon and Jordy Hewitt

King Street Studio co-owner Jordy Hewitt said Open House was an exciting opportunity for designers looking to showcase their work.

“It’s great, King Street was in it last year as well,” she said.

“It’s good to get people involved in art and design and architecture.

“We’ve been promoting it and it’s been a good excuse to have round two of putting my work up.”

The studio itself is split into two sections, Hewitt’s stairs gallery and her partner Nic Brunsdon’s Post-Studio which works with Spacemarket to re-create unused spaces.

“We launched the stairs gallery at the end of August,” Hewitt said.

“I had 32 pieces and we had a kind of opening party and either they’ve sold or gone to other events.”


The rich history of the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art was also open for viewing, joining the list of active destinations for its first year of Open House.

Gallery attendant, Tim Green

Gallery attendant, Tim Green

Front of house manager Amy Perejuan-Capone says the building had been used as an education facility up until 1988.

“It was built as a central Perth school and became the Perth Boys School in 1947, after that becoming a high school and technical college before becoming an art gallery in 1988,” Ms Perejuan-Capone said.

She said Open House was a good idea for people to get to know the city, and the mix of contemporary and heritage-listed buildings was interesting.

PICA showcases contemporary art through different mediums such as exhibitions, dance, theatre and live art projects.

It also provides workshops and classes for up-and-coming local artists.

Gallery attendant Tim Green said Open House was a “really great initiative”.

“It’s really great for people to see the skeletons of these really amazing old heritage buildings that we have so few of in Perth,” Mr Green said.

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