Welcome to Bower Studio

Bower Studios are a sequence of Master of Architecture build/consult/design projects at The University of Melbourne’s School of Design. They involve students working alongside indigenous groups in remote locations in Australia, Thailand and Papua New Guinea to improve their built environments.

Bower Studio 2016 in Papua New Guinea

2016 Sipaia, Papua New Guinea

Project: Composting Toilets

Location: Sipaia Village, Lae, Papua New Guinea

The 2016 Bower project followed on from a similar project in 2012 and saw the construction of safer, cleaner, composting toilets in the Sipaia village.

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Bower Studio 2016 in NT

2016 Wave Hill, Kalkarindji, NT

Project: Three ‘bough shelter’ pavilions

Location: Jinbarak, Junardi and Kalkarindji Northern Territory

Fifty years ago one of the most important events ever to take place in Australia occurred on a remote cattle station at Wave Hill in the Northern Territory.

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Bower Studio 2015 in NT

2015 Areyonga, Central Australia

Project: General purpose pavilion

The local shop is one of the key meeting places in Areyonga and the community asked that a pavilion be located near the store on the banks of the riverbed.

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Bower Studio 2015 in NT

2015 Amoonguna, Central Australia

The Bower Studio team of academics, architects, builders and students collaborated with the MacDonnell Regional Council’s Civil Works team from Amoonguna to build and landscape a taxi/bus pavilion at the entrance to the community.

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Bower Studio 2014 in PNG

2014 Suanum, Papua New Guinea

Over a seven-day period in November 2014 the University of Melbourne joined with the Suanum community to build a neonatal and composting toilet facility. The neonatal building sleeps four with a separate consultation room next door. The composting toilet was similar to those constructed by Bower Studio at the Sipaia community in 2012.

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Bower Studio 2013 in Belyuen Community, NT

2013 Belyuen Community, NT

In September 2013 the Bower Studio returned to the Northern Territory, working alongside residents of the Belyuen Community to construct a sheltered outdoor living area / kitchen from the Bower HomesPLUS range of ‘Add Ons’ for the Jorrock family house.

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Bower Studio 2012 in PNG

2012 Sipaia, Papua New Guinea

In November 2012 Bower Studio partnered with the University of Technology Lae and the Sipaia community to build three innovative composting toilets. Our newly improved toilet facilities provide a secure place to collect and treat waste and remain unaffected by tides or floods. They are lit with solar lights at night, are constructed with community assistance and are locally managed in such a way as to ensure that the overall project remains sustainable over the long-term.

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Bower Studio 2012 in Bellary Springs

2012 Bellary Springs, WA

In 2012 the Bower Studio returned to Western Australia to work again with Gumala Aboriginal Corporation in the homeland community of Bellary Springs. The community had no central gathering place or suitable venue for service providers to carry out health and education programs. Ongoing consultation with GAC and the Bellary Springs community members resulted in the development of the Bellary Springs Community Centre.

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Bower Studio 2011 in Wakathuni

2011 Wakathuni, WA

In 2011 the Bower Studio moved west, to Wakathuni in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Gumala Aboriginal Corporation contacted us to develop and deliver an Early Childhood Learning Centre to meet the developmental needs of their growing pre-school population. Partnering with the Graduate School of Education we developed a project which delivers both training in the principles and delivery of Abecedarian pedagogy to local teachers and a new custom designed facility to accommodate the program.

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Bower Studio 2010 in Darwin

2010 Gudorrka and Knuckeys Lagoon, NT

In 2009 the Bower Studio team partnered with local Darwin organisations to design and deliver the ‘Media Box’ project to two Indigenous Town Camps at the fringe of Darwin, Gudorrka and Knuckeys Lagoon. The Media Boxes provide a secure place where community members can access services such as email and internet banking, and where children can gather after school to do their homework, with a mini-library and meeting room form part of the centres.

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Bower Studio 2010 in PNG

2010 Morobe Province,
Papua New Guinea

This Bower Studio in the Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea during December 2010 involved the construction of pavilions in two communities, Serongko and Bumbu. The ‘hauswins’ (traditional names for simple shelters) we constructed in each community provide both shelter and a source of fresh drinking water to reduce the risks associated with the consumption of poor quality water.

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Bower Studio 2008 in Gudorrka

2009 Gudorrka, NT

In 2009 students from the University of Melbourne returned to the Gudorrka community, 22km south of Darwin. Bower Studio was asked if we could suggest ways to improve the housing stock and given the outcome driven philosophy of the Bower Studio the team, along with members of the local community, set themselves to a 10 day renovation of an existing ‘chicken coop’ house.

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Bower Studio 2008 in Gudorrka

2008 Gudorrka, NT

The Bower Studio was formed in 2008 and the first group of students were challenged to design and construct a robust pavilion structure – a ‘bower’. Following this research and experimentation phase, the students travelled to Gudorrka, a ‘Town Camp’ community 22km inland from Darwin, NT, to see first-hand and discuss with community members the deficiencies of current housing stock and what it was about their current living conditions that they would most like to see addressed.

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Bower Studio 2008 in Thailand

2008 Nong Tong Lim, Thailand

In 2008 Bower Studio joined with the Thai NGO Population and Community Development Association, Thammasat University and local residents of Nong Tong Lim, a rural village in the north-eastern Isaan region of Thailand, to develop and deliver a Thai style pavilion, or ‘sala’, at the local health clinic. The sala is a multipurpose space used as a waiting area by visitors to the clinic, as a base for outdoor exercise programs and a sheltered children’s play area.

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Our Projects