Pilbara architecture up for top gong

Elliott TurnerNorth West Telegraph
Newman Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service healthcare hub by Kaunitz Yeung Architecture
Camera IconNewman Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service healthcare hub by Kaunitz Yeung Architecture Credit: supplied by Robert Firth/supplied by Robert Firth

Newman’s Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service healthcare hub has been voted one of the best examples of public architecture in the State at the 2021 WA Architecture Awards this month.

NSW-based company Kaunitz Yeung Architecture designed the Newman facility last year with a focus on community ownership and involving local Aboriginal people.

The PAMS healthcare hub was the first primary healthcare facility of any type to be constructed in Newman.

Kaunitz Yeung Architecture director and co-founder David Kaunitz said he had called on experience from working with more than 30 Aboriginal communities in building culturally sensitive projects.

“What’s most important is that projects like this are well used and well embraced by community,” Mr Kaunitz said.

“We’re dealing with quite traditional Aboriginal communities and it is quite foreboding to go to a health facility.

“We’re trying to deliver buildings that are deinstitutionalised and really make people feel comfortable going and receiving health care.”

Mr Kaunitz said features such as the courtyard, landscaping, rammed earth and the art all play a role in achieving this.

“The way the building is planned minimises the internal experience of clients.

“The waiting room is quite linear, full of glazing and the courtyard serves as a waiting area. The consultation rooms are not far from the waiting area.

“The corridors have big windows and screens and the rooms themselves have large windows.

“We’re trying to deinstitutionalise the experience and make it as pleasant as possible.”

Mr Kaunitz said the company consulted closely with Newman communities when designing the facility.

“We make a big effort to hear all voices are heard.”

The award-winning architect has worked with the Martu community for more than 10 years.

He also wrote the national guidelines on designing Indigenous health projects.

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