Architectural tours of Melbourne
by local architects, landscape architects and urban designers
We are a group of local Melburnians who work, live and breathe architecture and design in this city. Keen to share the knowledge and generate discussion about the built environment, we invite you on a walking tour with us to learn about Melbourne’s evolution through its building fabric. Come and join us for a tour, followed by a caffeine pitstop or beer at the bar to dissect the good and the bad about the city and its architecture.
Guest Tour Guides
Melbourne Architours often brings in guest guides to share their expertise on specific topics. These include heritage advisors, environmental consultants, and designers and planners with personal involvement in a project. Our experts will give you an in-depth understanding of some of the unique challenges facing our urban environment and how they help shape it into a better place.
Interested in hosting a guest tour? Pitch us your idea.
CBD Settlement to Marvellous Melbourne
CBDSettlement to Marvellous Melbourne
Plenty of walking tours focus on the history of Melbourne post European settlement, particularly the years from 1835, through the gold rush, and up to the boom era of the 1880s. This architour also tells that story, but from the perspective of the buildings, lanes and streets of the CBD. Some original architecture survives while elsewhere only memories remain, despite attempts to erase them. In some areas, thoughtful development has attempted to revive these memories, reminding us that the future of a site can also hold its past. Everything is open to discussion on this architour and differing opinions about heritage, conservation and change are encouraged.
CBD Art Deco
Art Deco emerged in the early 20th Century but grew into a major design movement following the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925. The style is synonymous with the ‘Jazz Age’, which heralded a modern era of glamour and technological progress.
On this Architour we follow Art Deco’s development from a decorative, exuberant style to the pared-back ‘streamlined moderne’ of the 1930s by examining the work of Melbourne’s then leading commercial architects. We also explore how art deco architecture uplifted the city during economic depression and how it influenced modern retailing by appealing to an increasingly aspirational society.
CBD Modernism to Contemporary
CBDModernism to Contemporary
Melbourne is, and always has been, an exciting and ever-evolving city of incredible growth. This CBD architour captures the shock of the new and celebrates some truly original and challenging pieces of postwar architecture. The route is never the same. New precincts will be explored, controversial proposals debated and recently completed and under-construction projects put under the microscope. A varied focus on residential, civic, cultural and commercial architecture mean the conversation is as diverse as the journey.
Fitzroy is Melbourne’s oldest suburb and one of its smallest. From ‘slum’ to gentrified hub of the inner-north, this neighbourhood continues to attract a lively cross-section of people and architecture. On this Architour we ramble down century-old bluestone lanes and intimate streets, exploring a range of housing types from boom-style terraces, moderne bachelor flats, 1960s walk-ups and the new wave of apartment buildings. We also review the successes and failures of various public housing models and reflect on a world-leading urban designer’s 1977 study into how terrace frontages influence street life.
Richmond is at the intersection of the gritty northern suburbs and the traditionally genteel south-eastern suburbs of the Yarra, earning it the nickname ‘the Switzerland of Melbourne’. But Richmond is far from neutral when it comes to architecture. This Architour explores its rich industrial past and – for better or worse – its rapidly densifying future. Delightful compact houses, including one that literally greets passers-by and another that fakes its facade, jostle among large apartment buildings and converted warehouses to create an eclectic microcosm of inner city Melbourne.
It might be known mostly for its shopping, but South Yarra has also been an incubator for housing typologies since its earliest subdivision in 1840. This architour wanders up and down the hilly side of the suburb, where between the wars one architect designed and built an entire precinct on the steep north-facing bank of the Yarra, privileging the pedestrian and community. In contrast, the huge amount of high-rise development in the Forrest Hill precinct, named after Lieutenant Charles Forrest who bought one of the original lots in 1840, has foregone human scale for maximum yield. Somewhere in between, Victorian terrace houses, 60s walk-up flats, detached family homes and maisonettes complete the picture.
East Melbourne Art Deco
East Melbourne Art Deco
At first glance East Melbourne looks like a neighbourhood straight out of London, with grand Victorian terraces and mansions fronting lush park squares. But among the 19th Century grandeur are many smart art deco apartment blocks, including an entire street lined with the creations of a single architect. We explore how these buildings came to be well after East Melbourne was fully built-out and review how contemporary development proposals are re-shaping the suburb. The tour also takes in several hospitals that were inspired by international trends in healthcare design and still express a sense of modernity today.
In the feverish years of the late 1800s this seaside suburb was the retreat of the elite. Since then it’s seen its fair share of economic booms and busts. From the early 20th Century a number of grand Victorian mansions were converted into flats and modern purpose-built apartments developed. This Architour examines St Kilda’s rich history of apartment living and how we might learn to live happily in an increasingly dense city. We also take a look at how St Kilda has constantly reinvented itself through the destruction and resurrection of its much-loved public buildings.
Eaglemont has a long and diverse history, from being a significant meeting place for people of the Kulin nation, to a camp for the Heidelberg School of Impressionist artists. Today, it is home to some of Melbourne’s most iconic modernist and contemporary residential architecture. The suburb’s topography — Mount Eagle itself down to the flats of the Yarra River (Birrarung) — inspired architects Marion Mahoney and Walter Burley Griffin to design two subdivisions respecting the landscape and creating wonderfully hidden shared spaces. An architour of this unique suburb is one of exploration and imagination. Walking shoes are a must.
Request a custom tour
Please fill out the form below to request a custom tour for your group and we will endeavour to get back to you within 48 hours. We cater for large and small groups, including schools, corporate get-togethers, industry bodies, government agencies, travelling groups or simply a circle of friends with a keen interest in our city.
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