Bower Studio

Subject ABPL90356 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 5 hours per week (weeks 1 – 6); 56 hours per week whilst on-site; 6 hours per week (weeks 10 & 11).
Total Time Commitment:

240 hours


Admission to any master's degree in the MSD.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

It is recommended that students have completed at least two graduate-level design studios.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview:

The multi-award winning Bower Studio has been running for several years (see and has teams of students travelling to remote and marginalised communities to consult, design and construct community infrastructure projects. To date we have designed and built projects ranging from early learning centres for Indigenous kids in the Pilbara, computer centres in Indigenous 'town camp' communities in Darwin through to composting toilets for coastal communities in Papua New Guinea.

The projects and locations change year by year but follow a similar format with students conducting research, attending seminars and designing and building at the University before spending about ten days on-site in the host community completing the key built outcome. Upon returning to University, the students then prepare their final design submission.

The work is hard, really hard, and the accommodation and food is always basic. However, past students speak of the project as being a highlight of their university education and one of the most rewarding experiences in their lives.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate a capacity to make a contribution to the existing body of knowledge in architectural, landscape architectural or urban design theory and practice
  • demonstrate critical awareness of how their chosen specialisation contributes to this body of knowledge
  • demonstrate an understanding of design and construction as a form of research enquiry
  1. Preliminary Designs (1 & 2), weeks 3 & 5 - 10% each
  2. Seminar Presentation, week 7 - 10%
  3. Site Construction Contribution, week 9 - 30%
  4. Final Design, end of semester - 40%
Prescribed Texts:

Readings will be provided to students in the first week of class.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Written, verbal and graphic presentation of ideas
  • Correct use of design terminology
  • Ability to analyse social and cultural contexts
  • Critical thinking and analysis
  • Creative response to complex problems
  • Ability to select the appropriate design approach
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects (without prerequisites)

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