Bower Studio

Subject ABPL90356 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 29-Apr-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Quota: 16

This subject is a quota subject and places are limited. Students may provisionally enrol via the Student Portal, but places are not guaranteed until selection is completed. You will be notified in writing by the Student Centre if you are selected.

Selection criteria: Students will be selected on the basis of:

1. Academic merit and

2. A 300-word statement describing the student's interest in the subject and the skills he/she can bring to the group to assist in coping with survival under extremely harsh conditions.

For detailed information on the quota subject application process and due dates, refer to the EDSC Quota Subjects webpage:

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
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:

340 hours


Admission into one of the following courses

MC-ARCHY Master of Architecture
MC-ARCH2Y Master of Architecture (200 points)
MC-ARCH3Y Master of Architecture (300 points)

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:


Dr David O'Brien


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.


Travel: $700
Accommodation: $750
Living expenses (meals and incidentals): $600

Note: Students may be eligible to receive a one off payment of up to $1000 from Melbourne Global Mobility (conditions apply) and $800 from the Faculty - utilised towards student’s accommodation costs. Prices listed are subject to change.


This traveling studio can count as credit towards your course in one of the categories listed below

Master of Architecture: ABPL90142, ABPL90143, ABPL90115 or Multidisciplinary elective

Learning Outcomes:

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) - equivalent to 2000 words, due weeks 3 & 5 (10% each)
  2. Seminar Presentation - equivalent to 1000 words, due week 7 (10%)
  3. Site Construction Contribution - equivalent to 3000 words, due week 9 (30%)
  4. Final Design - equivalent to 4000 words, due 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:

Safety boots, safety glasses and ear muffs are required for workshop activities in this subject (to be provided by the student).

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