Kaunitz Yeung Architecture has designed the Punmu and Parnngurr Aboriginal Health Clinics in the Western Australian Desert, to serve four indigenous communities of the Martu. 

The sole provider of primary health care services for the four communities, Punkurunu Aboriginal Medical Service (PAMS), required two replacement clinics, with a modest budget of $2m per clinic. 

The design was navigated by consultation and discussion between the communities, clinicians, the client and the designers. 

The two buildings are 1000km apart by road, with all materials only available from Perth, which is 1800km away. 

The sites’ makeup is of a modular construction, with site-built infill works. The clinical rooms are prefabricated modules, prefabricated in Perth and then delivered to the site.

The modules were laid out prior by a surveyor, enabling the site’s measuring of the infill elements, and then the materials were transported from Perth, where the waiting rooms and corridors were then constructed. 

Sustainability was crucial considering both buildings’ climate is most commonly 40 degrees Celsius, and in peak summer, can reach 50 degrees Celsius. 

Each roof is a pergola, serving 60 photovoltaic panels, garnering 30% of the clinics’ power, with minimal windows and shaded awnings, a solar hot water unit was also integrated into the pergola. 

The community selected a list of artists and artworks, and then shortlisted them based on their ability to act as an art screen. Three arts screens were chosen per building. 

Other cultural responses included the siting of the buildings, the orientation and location of entrances, in order to address cultural avoidance and male and female separation.