About Bower Studio

A ‘bower shelter’ or ‘bough shelter’ is a simple structure traditionally used by Indigenous Australians meeting together to shelter from sun, rain or wind. The Bower Studio builds on this idea of self-built, environmentally sound solutions to specific cultural needs and applies itself to working with remote communities. The Bower Studio program is designed to bring people together for teaching and learning, across contexts and cultures, and with the discipline to achieve ‘hard’ outcomes.


The multi-award winning Bower Studio brings together architecture-focused academics and postgraduate students from the University of Melbourne to work with community groups and industry supporters. We look to real world issues of inequality, race, poverty, climate change and marginalization and build multidisciplinary teams to address both short-term and long-term goals.


The co-constructivist philosophy that drives the Bower Studio is committed to providing both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students with a unique and powerful learning experience by readdressing issues of ‘top-down’ engagement and poor communication. At the same time the Bower Studio is also committed to the construction of cost-effective, culturally appropriate infrastructure.


Our Bower projects readdress the gap between our partner community’s ‘aspirations’ and ‘capacities’ on one hand with the all too frequent ‘burden of low-expectations’ on the other. We do this through a rigorous process of talking, designing and then building together. With each project our Indigenous partners further their capacity to improve their own infrastructure and community programs.


The Bower projects attract organizations and people wishing to engage, address inequality, hardships and overcome barriers to Indigenous development. We are strategic in our development of strong partnerships that include Indigenous organizations, industry supporters and multidisciplinary expertise within University of Melbourne.


The Bower Studio group is regularly invited to return to work with our Indigenous partners, demonstrating the strength of long-term relationships and our capacity to maintain engagement. Partners appreciate that we always deliver on time and to budget. While we are proud of our legacy of ‘hard’ outcomes within communities we are equally as proud of the relationships we have built and nurtured. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the many communities and partners that have supported our ambitions.