Background Image

Brisbane Open House


The annual Brisbane Open House (BOH) celebrates the city’s design, architecture and heritage, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to appreciate Brisbane’s built environment and broaden their awareness and knowledge of the city’s structural design, beauty and history.

Since its inception in 2010, when 16 buildings were open to the public and 12,000 visits to these were recorded, this free community event has expanded exponentially. In 2019, more than 119 buildings across Brisbane were opened to the public, with some 79,500 visits recorded.

One of the most visited buildings during Brisbane Open House 2019 – Brisbane City Hall (built 1920-30)

When and where

BOH is celebrated in October each year and in 2019 was held on the weekend of 12 and 13 October.

BOH is complemented by other Open House events held on various dates throughout Queensland, at Maryborough, the Gold Coast, Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast, and Cairns.

The cavernous Spring Hill Reservoirs (built in 1871 and 1882) were visited by more than 2200 people during Brisbane Open House 2019

Facts and figures

  • The 2019 BOH program featured 119 buildings, with 30 buildings participating for the first time.
  • Many buildings offered tours throughout the weekend, with staff, volunteers and architects acting as tour guides.
  • In 2019, seven of the “Top 10” BOH buildings visited were listed on the Queensland Heritage Register. The ”Top 10” buildings and their visitor numbers were:
    • Brisbane City Hall (6000 visitors)
    • Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (6000 visitors)
    • Queensland Museum (4400 visitors)
    • Museum of Brisbane (2773 visitors)
    • St Stephen’s Cathedral (2500 visitors)
    • Spring Hill Reservoirs (2236 visitors)
    • Old Windmill Tower (2162 visitors)
    • Brisbane Powerhouse (2090 visitors)
    • Peakaboo House (2000 visitors)
    • ABC Brisbane Centre (1500 visitors)
  • Other well-patronised BOH venues included Government House (Fernberg); Newstead House and Substation No. 5; the Roma Street Fire Station; and the Wickham Terrace Car Park.
  • In 2019, 64 BOH workshops, talks and tours were held.
  • 65 per cent of visitors to BOH in 2019 had attended previous years’ BOH events and 99 per cent of visitors said they would attend BOH again.
  • 78 percent of visitors specifically wanted to visit heritage buildings with 78 percent also keen to learn about the history of Brisbane and its architecture.
  • BOH began as a partnership between government and the corporate and community sectors, and was founded by the Queensland Government through the Office of the Queensland Government Architect, The Committee for Brisbane (formerly Brisbane Development Association) and the National Trust of Australia (Queensland). In 2017, a new company was formed to manage the event.


BOH has a diverse range of sponsors, with some $150,000 in State Government funding in 2019 along with $111,500 in corporate partnerships, plus $250,000 in-kind support to deliver the event, grow BOH’s “brand” awareness, and increase audience engagement.

Not just a car park, but a beautiful public building in its own right, the Brisbane City Council car park on Wickham Terrace (built 1959-60) was a popular venue during Brisbane Open House 2019

Reflections and learnings

Brisbane’s generous embrace of Open House has occurred so seamlessly it feels the event has always been part of the fabric of our city. This is due to the broad community of individuals and organisations who have supported the growing range of programs that Brisbane Open House presents.

It is also because the delivery of the event builds on the considerable goodwill and curiosity of the people of Brisbane, particularly the city’s design community. - Malcolm Middleton OAM LFRAIA, Queensland Government Architect &  Chair, Brisbane Open House

Find out more

Further information on Brisbane Open House is available at