The Block Glasshoue launches Sunday

A new season of The Block is just around the corner and it’s brilliant.

Five couples and an abandoned 1980s office building come together for the biggest, most complex Block yet:..

Lured to host Scott Cam’s Channel Nine “office”, our new contestants soon discover they are actually on The Block. With no eliminations, they pick a number between 1 and 5, promptly receive the plans to their new apartment, and set about trying to locate their apartments within the ruined behemoth of a building.

The Block Glasshouse contestants have to deliver larger rooms on the same budget of $100,000 and sponsor vouchers as previous contestants. But this year they get to vote on each others’ rooms, and the winners of the weekly jury vote will top up their reno budget with an extra $5000 in goods and cash.

Nearly every couple in this series has at least one partner who is a tradie or experienced in renovating – a plumber, a painter, a chippy, building student and kitchen installer. Sounds like a huge advantage, but no one has taken on a build of this magnitude before, and it doesn’t take long for the cracks to show on the Glasshouse.

The five couples are:

Michael and Carlene (both 31), from the Gold Coast, QLD

Together for 12 years and married for seven, with a son Paddy (5) and daughter Stella (3). Michael is a Project Manager/Chippy and Carlene is a Communications Officer at a university.

Chris (24) and Jenna (26), from Campbelltown, NSW

Have known each other for seven years, married for four. Chris is a Cabinet Maker and Jenna is a Video Editor, both self-employed.

Maxine (24) and Karstan (26), from Newcastle, NSW

Together for eight years, engaged for two. Maxine is an Events Manager and Karstan is a Coal Miner.

Shannon (35) and Simon (28), born in Lichfield, TAS, raised in Coffs Harbour, NSW Brothers.

Shannon is a Painter and Simon is a Plumber.

Darren (32) and Deanne (44), from Melbourne, VIC

Married 10 years with two daughters, Scarlett (7) and Lily (5). Darren is an ex-AFL Footballer studying to be a builder and Deanne is a former Fashion Designer.

Just metres from Chapel Street, Melbourne’s world-famous epicentre of cool, the three-storey, 3540 square-metre Glasshouse building in downtown Prahran will come to life with five split-level atrium apartments, complete with two-car lock-up underground garages and 70 square-metre lock-up storage units.

Last home to communication technology company Vixtel, the building will undergo façade changes to complement the new internal layout. The ground floor will be converted to retail/commercial space totalling 254 square metres.

Everything about the building is solid, heavy and over-designed – just the kind of thing to cut into pieces. The mid 1980s office conversion our Blockheads moved into on day one was a sprawl of depression – suspended ceilings, hideous furniture, rancid bathrooms in a drab palette of pale blues and greys.

The Blockheads had to convert the office space into their living quarters for the first few weeks, sleeping under desks, in offices and behind partitions on blow-up mattresses. Far from glamorous, but within weeks the judges were rating their work the most sophisticated they have ever seen on The Block.

The Block Glasshouse will peel away the mistakes of the most recent fitout and restore the mammoth building to its former light-industrial glory, showcasing the spectacular ceiling heights, great structural bones and cool, old-school, metal-framed windows – with a twist.

It won’t be without its challenges, as the sheer scale of the building must be carefully carved up to create individual apartments with private terraces, voids, a multi-storey atrium and common area that gives a real sense of arrival.

Gold Logie winner and host Scott Cam is back for the ninth season of The Block. Also back for the rollercoaster are challenge master Shelley Craft, judges Neale Whitaker, Shaynna Blaze and Darren Palmer, and “The Blockinator” foreman, Keith Schleiger.

The Block Glasshouse premieres Sunday, At 6.30pm on Channel Nine then airs 7.30pm Monday To Thursday And 6.30pm Sunday On Nine