Studio 30

Bower 22 On-country Culture Precinct @ Cummeragunja

David O'Brien and George Stavrias

This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90142 Studio C, ABPL90143 Studio D, and ABPL90115 Studio E. However, this studio is delivered as ABPL90356 Bower Studio.

Please see the seperate application instructions below. If your application is approved, your enrolment will be shifted from ABPL90142/3/115 to ABPL90356 automatically.

Studio Description

Looking for a challenging and unique experience working alongside an indigenous community? This ‘on-country’ design/build project is just the thing you are looking for!!

Bower Studio has been invited back to Cummeragunja where we will join the Yorta Yorta to continue designing/building a new culture precinct and masterplan for the settlement. During a series of multi-day, on-country site visits you will help consult, design and build alongside the community to facilitate their desire to share their unique history. Some preliminary construction works have been completed and our team will begin working with raw timber poles and steel to complete the roof structure. See for progress.

You will be working alongside members of the local community who will provide a rich source of inspiration for your final designs. We will also be joined by indigenous students from the broader Goulburn Valley region. After consultation you can select to focus on additional ways to celebrate the local culture with the community seeking design ideas for a heritage centre, visitor accommodation, learning precincts etc…..

Classes run 9-12 Monday and Thursday in the MSD Building with cultural competency training, research seminars and preliminary design work held prior to the series of site visits to Cummeragunja and surrounds. You don’t need to have prior building experience as this will be developed during the semester.

The studio is intellectually and physically demanding – please check the website carefully! This project involves multiple site visits to Cummeragunja (3 hours from Melbourne) with basic accommodation (including camping) and food.

Most travel expenses will be covered by the university.

Applications for Bower Studio must be submitted directly – it is NOT on the ballot.

Submission Process

Check out the website and see the Applications 2022 link. Also see the student’s blog written during the build phase of previous Bower projects to get their perspective

Please email your application to the selection committee and tell us why you are excited about the Bower 22 project at Cummeragunja (around 250 words). Add your telephone number in case we have any questions.

Please tell us if you are applying to have this processed as a Design C, D, or E subject or if you would like to do the project as Design Thesis.

Applications for Bower 22 are now open and due by 4pm Friday 25 February. We know this is a really short turnaround but no late submissions can be considered. You should have first attended the information session or directly contacted David or George to understand the scope of the project and confirm you are eligible to apply. Successful applicants will be notified by email on Sunday 27 February.

Information Session

Further information will be given at the Studio C/D/E information session Thursday 24 February. Please feel free to contact David or George via email with any other questions.

Studio Leaders

DAVID O'BRIEN: BPD, BArch (hons), PhD Senior Lecturer in Architectural Design and Technology Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning University of Melbourne. David has twenty-five years experience designing and building for both commercial and community-based clients. He has project managed the construction of community development projects in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.

GEORGE STAVRIAS: B.A (hons), B.Sc, BPD, MArch, AIA. George Stavrias is a registered architect and co-developer of the HomesPLUS program. George has worked as a designer and project manager on twelve Bower Studio projects in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. His role includes community liaison, project design and documentation, site management and post-occupancy evaluation.

Readings & References

  • Australian Indigenous Design Charter – Communication Design
  • 'Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle 'Little children are sacred', report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse',
  • Grant, S 2016, Talking to my country, Melbourne. Scribe.
  • Grant, S 2016, The Australian dream, Quarterly Essay Issue 64.
  • Pearson, N 2009, Up from the mission: selected writings, Melbourne. Black Inc.
  • Langton, M 2012 Counting Our Victories: the end of Garvey-ism and the soft bigotry of low expectation,
  • Pascoe, B 2014, Dark Emu, South Australia, Griffin Press.
  • Toohey, P 2008, Last drinks: the impact of the Northern Territory intervention, Melbourne. Black Inc.
  • Manne, R 2001, In denial: the stolen generations and the right, Melbourne. Black Inc.
  • McKnight, D 2002, From hunting to drinking: the devastating effects of alcohol on an Australian Aboriginal community, London. Routledge.
  • Referendum Council 2018, An indigenous voice
  • Sutton, P 2011, The politics of suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus, Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Pub.
  • Sutton, P & K Walshe 2021, Farmers or hunter gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate, Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Pub.
  • Ward, C 2016, A handful of sand, The Gurindji struggle, after the Walk-off, Victoria, Monash University Press.
  • Working with Aboriginal People, NDSWA
  • Yunkaporta, T 2019, Sand talk, Melbourne. Text Publishing.

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 09:00-12:00

Contact Handbook

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