Upcoming Projects

Upcoming Bower Project 2020/21

On-country learning pavilion

The Cummeragunja community lives on the banks of the Murray River in New South Wales close to Barmah township. Formerly known as the Cummeragunja Mission the land is now owned by the Yorta Yorta Land Council. Elders from the Yorta Yorta community have approached Bower Studio to support the development of an on-country learning pavilion to become a focal point for a range of cultural activities. Community members have identified on-country learning as an important way to celebrate their cultural heritage and foster their future identity.

A stockpile of ‘thinnings’ from the local red river gum forests provides timber for posts and beams. At the community’s suggestion a number of poles of appropriate length and diameter have been selected from the main stockpile. A number of consultation meetings, sketch models and drawings, have led the Bower team towards the current design – a forest of nine timber columns supporting a perforated steel roof filtering dappled light. The columns and beams are connected by custom steel brackets and supported on textured concrete footings and seating inside the pavilion.

Later in the project we will install additional screens to help storytelling.

During one of the consultation visits three timber poles were installed as part of an impromptu landscaping exercise outside the local health clinic. Using local timber, the Bower team tested a series of connection details at 1:1 scale to help facilitate community discussions. These prototypes have since been modified with the support of Arup engineers.


This program begins at the Parkville campus before relocating to the Cummeragunja community with an intensive phase from between four to fourteen days. Students will be instructed to use power tools to contribute to the building process. Student assessment will include drawings, booklets and multi-media presentations.


Masters level students at the Melbourne School of Design are eligible to join the program via two subjects; APBL90152 Bower Studio Community Development (12.5 credit points) and ABPL90286 Construction Methods A (12.5 credit points).


Unfortunately, classes are temporarily halted due to COVID19.


David O’Brien, Zoe Diacolabrianos, James Neil, Nicky Henderson.

Email David O’Brien at djobrien@unimelb.edu.au for further information.

Student mentor 2020/21

Damien Cresp.