Architecture students from University of Melbourne worked with a remote Indigenous community in the Northern Territory township of Titjikala to design and build innovative outdoor living spaces.

Project Lead Dr David O’Brien said it was a unique opportunity for the students to further their design and community consultation skills while making a contribution towards much needed infrastructure in remote areas.

Dr O’Brien explained that designing culturally and environmentally appropriate housing for Indigenous communities remained a challenge in Australia. This particular housing project for instance, took into account the community’s desire for outdoor living spaces due to extreme heat and the cultural preference to conduct various daily activities such as cooking, outdoors. Since overcrowding can also be a big challenge, these outdoor living areas also provide additional living and sleeping space.

Since 2008, projects such as this from the yearly Bower Studio have helped design and construct houses, computer labs, an early childhood learning centre, community bathing facilities and community centres, alongside numerous partner communities. These projects have taken place both in Australia and internationally.

The outdoor living structures were officially opened on 7 May.