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Waterfront: Rethinking Regional Recovery

Lessons learnt from past bushfires in Victoria have not necessarily been understood, and more lessons have been accumulating as towns in East Gippsland / Gunaikurnai-Bidwell Country continue an arduous recovery after the 2019-20 fires. Such disasters raise questions around the moral role of architects and built environment experts amidst efforts to recover quickly, especially through the tangibility of buildings.

Rethinking Regional Recovery presents the works of Monash University Master of Architecture students. The projects speculate on how we might deepen our understanding of the implications of what we design and build through respect for vernacular peculiarities, local knowledge and the deconstruction of sectoral silos. The small to mid-scale architectural interventions aim to re-think, challenge and re-imagine traditional design processes by leveraging interdisciplinary approaches towards long-term socio-spatial recovery.

An exhibition of architectural interventions which challenge traditional design processes by leveraging interdisciplinary approaches.



Photos (top): field work documentation, courtesy Nikhila Madabhushi

Images (above): exhibition content featuring 1: Udari Gardihewa; 2: Cooray Sith, Karapanagiotidis Haroula; 3: Francesca Carr; 4: Duleesha Perera; 5+6: Chelsea Telford; 7: Lucy Hammon, Robert Lees; 8: Mohamed Camal.


Nikhila Madabhushi

Nikhila Madabhushi is a practising architect and lecturer who is currently Monash Innovation Fellow within the Department of Architecture. Her research and teaching focusses on rethinking “community-led” recovery of built environments in the regional Victorian context following the bushfires in East Gippsland / Gunaikurnai-Bidwell Country.

This exhibition is an outcome from Nikhila Madabhushi’s research-led teaching under the Monash Innovation Fellowship within the Department of Architecture at Monash Art, Design and Architecture. The design studio involved interdisciplinary collaboration from Australian Red Cross, Gender and Disaster Pod, Bushfire Recovery Victoria, Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, CSIRO, Steve Pascoe, Victor Steffensen, Zoe D’Arcy and Christy Bryar.

This event is co-presented by School for unTourists. Waterfront is proudly presented by Centre for Architecture Victoria | Open House Melbourne, in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and East Gippsland Shire Council. Waterfront is part of Melbourne Design Week 2021, an initiative of the Victorian Government in collaboration with the NGV.

Important Details

Time & Date

Online Exhibition

A digital exhibition featuring the Rethinking Regional Recovery Master of Architecture student work is available to view online.



In-person Exhibition

Iceworks Shed, 5 Carpenter Street, Lakes Entrance
Thursday 1st to Saturday 3 April
10am – 5pm daily

FREE, booking required




  • In-person exhibition is not wheelchair accessible
  • Guide dogs and service animals are welcome to the in-person exhibition
  • Online exhibition is accessible for all to watch for free



Iceworks Shed, 5 Carpenter Street, Lakes Entrance

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