PHOTO: The Block contestants have worked hard to transform The Oslo into one of the great buildings of St Kilda. Photo: Gisele Baker

St Kilda has always meant many things to many people. It’s a suburb that makes space for diversity and difference and, although its reputation for accommodating the more colourful side of life has ebbed and flowed over its history, it’s also rightly feted as a place that helps to define Melbourne’s soul.

Maybe you saw Nick Cave at the infamous Crystal Ballroom at the Seaview Hotel in the 1970s. Maybe you marvelled at Darrel Baldock playing for the Saints at the Junction Oval in the ’60s. Maybe you spotted Mirka Mora painting the walls of the Tolarno Hotel. Or, perhaps you took a room for a night or a week at the Oslo.

Up on the rise of Grey Street, the majestic building began life in 1859 as five elegant, three-storey terraces before conversion to budget accommodation and backpackers’ hostel. The old darling fell into decline and disrepair, which is where this year’s intrepid Blockheads come in.