Public access to Sacred Spaces  

Micaela Drieberg, host of Channel 31’s architecture show Sacred Spaces alongside Andrew Spencer, has just wrapped the current series, her first full-year stint on the program.

Drieberg (pictured) was spotted by the show’s producer Glen Noble while lecturing at the University of Melbourne. 

“My background is in what I call healthy environments,” she says. “It’s all about the impact that the planning and development of our cities has on community well-being.”

This seems a perfect fit for Sacred Spaces, which talks to the professionals, asking them to elucidate their favourite areas of the city, as well as the highlights of projects they’ve worked on. 

This year’s crop of architectural wonder has taken in a squiz at Carlton, going beyond the scope of simply one building, and a chinwag with the Dean of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, Professor Tom Kvan, who revealed his sky-high plans for the spaces above the city.

Drieberg also gained a new appreciation of Docklands, one of Melbourne’s much-maligned suburbs. 

“We took a look at its open spaces, walking through one of the parks and the wetlands down there too. I think there’s more than meets the eye down there, and there are certainly good standards, with all new buildings required to have a minimum five-star green rating.”

For Drieberg, the city is all about activating its public spaces. “What I really love about Melbourne is the blend of old and new; that we have some really beautiful, heritage buildings which have been retrofitted with modern elements that are warm and inviting. I love our vibrant laneways with their strong sense of community and entertainment.”

This year the series ventures outside of the city for the first time, with Drieberg’s favourite jaunts including a trip out to see a snazzily converted wheat storage shed near Horsham and the surprisingly high-tech Port Phillip Estate Winery on the Mornington Peninsula. “The design there has a strong sustainability focus, and the gentleman who owns it has also made it very accessible for people with disabilities.”

For a local community television program, they certainly have grand designs. First stop country Victoria, next they plan to take on the nation. “We have grand visions of extending beyond Melbourne and looking at the highlights across the country,’’ says Drieberg. “It’s quite a unique show. We’re not looking at buildings that are inaccessible to the general public. We want them to visit these places and take a closer look.” 

See new episodes of Sacred Spaces on Wednesdays at 8pm on Channel 31.

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