OPEN HOUSE MELBOURNE '17
On Thursday the Bureau of Meteorology was saying a 90% chance of rain, by Sunday it was 5%. Stars aligned something special so from Soup Boys HQ a handful departed for the city. Okky interpreted a 7am roll out, not quite compatible with the others who were still in bed beyond 9, or building a bike until 10. With the sun shining unexpectedly given the original forecast a handful of cute teens rolled out of Soup Boys HQ bound for the big city. A true recovery day was on the cards, a day around town coinciding with the 10th annual Open House Melbourne weekend, a celebration of the cities vibrant architecture/culture scene et cetera.
32 Guildford Lane, CBD
High End Cycling Fashionz
While not on the 200 something strong list of venues open across the weekend (probably because it only just opened), the new Rapha clubhouse (should that C be capitalised?) was our first port of call as it provided us with an excellent central spot to begin our day, meet up with the others and grab a round of caffé lattes. The beloved Mr Stack, a frequenter of our humble weekly bunch ride had spent countless hours bringing the space together as "The Boss" and was kind enough to provide us with a run down of the clubhouses first few weeks. Busy and successful, somewhat expected from a city with such a strong cycling fashion scene as Melbourne. While not Apple-store pumping, the store was rather busy, but fortunately we had Jonesy in attendance to help guide us through questions about various products. He was able to go beyond product name and price (regular and sale) telling us the story behind certain items of clothing, and sharing the evolutionary journey of others. If you needed any further proof of Dean's credentials for Patron Saint of the Sartorial Cyclisté it was right then and there inside the Rapha Clubhouse (we have officially started capitalising it).
II: COX ARCHITECTURE
167 Flinders Lane, CBD
We warmed to the occasion by heading to level 8 of the Nicholas Building a few doors down only to be led on a wild goose chase around the James Bond base-esque hallways, Dean smacking his head on a power box while he produced his second ever insta-story. Once we had gotten back to ground level via the rickety old lift (for those who have visited the Nicholas, you know) we head up the hill and jumped in line for our first building of the day. Cox Architecture.
Founded by Philip Cox in the same year Anquetil took his fourth Tour de France (1963 for the non-cycling trivia afficianados) the architecture firm has expanded beyond its original Sydney office, now employing over 350 across 6 Australian cities and 2 locations in the Middle East. In 2015 the Melbourne office moved down the street from a tighter four storey layout to a much more expansive two storey office space with the intention of physically fostering a collaborative environment. The best part – they're an architecture firm, one who has worked on most of Australia's sporting stadiums and their redevelopments amongst a whole slew of hella projects so of course their new space would be nothing short of spectacular.
The main focus of the tour was the central "Box Office" kind of gulf that existed between the two levels of the office. Described as a meeting place, a presenting place, it was kind of the first thing you saw once you would walk in, unless you were a cricket fan then it would be the special Ashes edition cricket bat beside the reception desk. A quick presentation gave us a bit of history of the build before we were shown around the guts of the place. Expansive drafting tables, intricate to-scale models, designer chairs and most importantly the star of the show – "The Bench". If you think its weird yep fine, but remind yourself that you're probably reading this as a cycling fan, and we like some pretty whack shit so don't judge too quickly. Nonetheless "The Bench" was impressive as far as benches go. Made from reclaimed Oregon floor joists and the central beam taken from the roof that the Box Office claimed. Running alongside it was a properly fitted out kitchen area and Rocket Espresso team (we're in the process of poaching them from MAAP Basso as sponno x), the wonderfully friendly man providing us with the tour only happy to tell tales of how lit after work drinks get at "The Bench" – knowing a few architecture students and recent graduates, we have no doubt.
Even on a weekend recovery cruise around town we still manage to bonk, it is simply in our DNA. Dates had been getting smashed by the fistful back at the HQ, and we had sat down for a round of bagels and caffé lattes at Rapha, but just over an hour later we were already feeling a little queazy. Not wanting to have to search far and wide for a single arch to lock our 20 bicycles to, we opted for the markets for lunch. The nostalgic journey through the meat halls and fruit stands had Harry teary-eyed with pride in the spruiking lifestyle, as any good Fruttivendolo Boi would, while Adrian felt the same reminiscing on day trips made to Melbourne with his Nonna, most of the time to get nothing but proper olive oil and raddicchio seeds. Out of all of us, it had been the most cosmopolitan one of the lot (Dean) who had never set foot inside the markets. Adding a disclaimer to that sentence, he did let us know he had attended the night markets once or twice, but agreed with us that it was just "not the same at all". Once we got through the spruikers super soaking patrons of the meat hall, we weaved towards the Brats stand, where for less than a tenner you could cop a totally unaustralian (but way better) sausage in bread. Home ownership would be well within touching distance if them damned millenials swapped their damn avocados for them damn sausages and double serves of sauerkraut. Make sure you finish it with one or two polish donuts from the stall opposite.
IV: HELLENIC MONARCHY
280 William St, CBD
Museum, Old Mint, Carpark
No unlucky 16 year olds copping cut fingers and burnt forearms for $5 here #georgesdoubletime. Intended to be a little later on our list, but bumped up a few due to its proximity to the Queen Victoria Markets – the Hellenic Museum, formerly the carpark we used to go play soccer before heading to Bang! (or Next, or Can't Say, or depending on your age even Fashion Keyboard), before that the Royal Mint. Stepping into the foyer of the building we were instantly reminded of where Adonis got his inspo from when it came to the art of body sculpting. An exhibition downstairs had ancient artefacts, golden crowns and cabinets filled with trials of the first ceramic bongs before Gatorbeug refined and mastered the process.
The $420million question: Which of the above makes the best Greco "water pourer"?
Trick Answer: all of them.
Up a decadent staircase, the kind that reminds you that couldn't be any less Greek, a good reminder of the buildings original history (as a mint, not as a pre-drinks spot). Upstairs were a few more exhibitions. The Bill Henson room, more statues and the selective colour room. Needed more statues and golden crowns.
It was all downhill to our third stop of the day, meaning that by 2pm we had hit the expected quota of "about 3" buildings visited on a day during Melbourne Open House. Thanks to some sweet talking by Monty we managed to get in a little earlier as part of a bumper tour group. The location would be Council House 2, a fairly innocuous kind of building, but one happy to remain unassuming as it followed every mothers favourite reminder "it's what's on the inside that counts". Australia's first 6 star green rated building, it cost about $55 million, ten to fifteen of which was dedicated to some trial and error kind of energy saving measures. Some worked and were still on show, some spectacularly failed. Like those fucking bright yellow roof turbines, but throughout the ten storey building there were some seriously impressive green features. As an office space you could consider it slightly better looking that most other government set ups, but it was the rooftop garden and the accompanying views that stole the show (sorry to the two guys who were debating with the tour guide, you don't win).
VI: HISENSE ARENA
Olympic Boulevard, CBD
It hosts the tennis, the wrestling, countless comedy, music and self help acts, hell the woman running the tour was even going into intricate detail about how popular the bull riding was there (?!?!?!) – Hisense Arena is the sister stadium of the Melbourne Park precinct, resting in the shadows of Rod Laver Arena, but only in the late evening. We had managed to navigate through the mess left by the Run Melbourne bump out and arrived at the stadium as the second last tour started for the day. We began by sitting pretty in a host of different corporate boxes, one where the seats were comfier than cinema seats, and the fridges were presumably stocked with San Pel but the Bulgari limited edition ones. Once we left the confines of the boxes we were born to witness live sports in, the tour changed hands to the facilities general manager. He guided us through artists change rooms to tell stories of Fleetwood Mac banning red m&m's while at the back of the tour Okky hazily recollected a night racking lines off the arms of a leather couch with Kendrick during his last tour. He never confirmed or denied.
Tim (we're calling the GM that now) took us through the team change rooms used by the tennis stars and tenant teams of the stadium, Melbourne basketball and netball teams, and the Collingwood netball team. He was able to provide insights into team superstitions and telling us a bit about the future of the space (it's getting mad upgraded with wall to wall plasmas and whiteboards and shit #strat). Showing that he is a man with his finger on the pulse, he described ice baths – there were 2 per change room – as nothing but a fad. Smart, because everyone knows that ice bins are now the future.
Our final stop for the Hisense tour would be centre court. Through the unfortunate #nopashzone of the blue light disco tunnel we made our way out into the centre of the expansive space. For the sake of Open House Melbourne they had set the arena up to imitate all of its main formats. A court had been laid down centrally, half netball and half basketball. This was headed by a large pop up stage, set up early for Jerry Seinfeld who was performing during the next few weeks. And at the back, the crowning glory – the velo. Or at least one end of it. The only UCI approved velodrome with a broken surface in the world, shit is steep, especially when compared to the Hawthorn one. We shot out shots, admired the banking and before we all got chased our thanks to some overzealous tourists wanting to wallride the velodrome wall we head up and out, trying to coax free donuts from cafe staff on our way out onto the plaza. We would be back, probably for the single cycling event hosted in the stadium during the year, we're just waiting for the sponsors to drop us a line about live blogging it from the corporate suite #Bulgariwater.
VII: GERMAN LUTHERAN CHURCH
22 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
Plaß of Worship
It wouldn't be an architectural tour of Melbourne if it didn't include some totally, unapologetically gothic building. Enter the German Lutheran Church. The second oldest building we would visit, it was our last stop for the day as we arrived four minutes before the official end of Open House Melbourne. Inspired by the Gothic Revival movement, it sits pretty opposite St Patricks Cathedral – host of a massive fuck off Euro looking wedding. Inside the church immediately took us back to times of the printing press, of parchment, of nailing shit to doors and sticking it to the fucken man. With some delicious #lightbro filtering through the amazing leadlight work we took a pew, kneeled and prayed to the German Patron Saint of Speed: Tony Martin.
When you thought a single clif bar for your double century would be enough, and you were wrong.
Tommy Voeckler telling his great-great grandson about all those days in the breakaway.
Explaining your improved FTP to your partner who just cares so much.
One Espresso Love gel later...
*Notification comes thru to your phone, your fav Strava KOM was just taken from you*
When you drop your mates up the climb so badly that you gotta Hansel & Gretel so they know to keep going.
VIII: THE WOLF'S LAIR
It's not on the official list, and it's invite only but we officially present the Wolf's Lair. We might be biased, but as the only home owner within the Soup Boys cohort, and the fact that its a shit hot house, we believe it should be included. A perfect backdrop for housing Will's Curve, spending the afternoon watching the footy, or scoffing down a sandwich you just brought home from the hella sandwich shop down the road, it is what can simply be described as #housegoals. Long live the inner-north-northwest.