Sydney-based Kaunitz Yeung Architecture has officially opened the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services (PAMS) Newman clinic, the first Aboriginal health clinic in the remote town of Newman, located 1200kms north of Perth.
The $8 million clinic has been completed on time and within budget, despite the challenges of COVID-19, was funded by the federal Department of Health, and commissioned by the Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Services (PAMS) to help communities in remote areas access better healthcare.
Having an operational centre means that members of the community will no longer have to travel to Perth for treatment but will be able to access the visiting clinicians and allied health professionals who come to the clinic.
The project called for a state-of-the-art regional primary health care facility to be the physical embodiment of the ethos of PAMS and place wellness at the centre of community. Community focused, connected to country, incorporating culture and providing the highest standard of primary health care.
The firm is well known and internationally awarded for their work in remote Aboriginal communities and director David Kaunitz says Newman is the culmination of more than a decade of working and living in remote Aboriginal communities and integrates design, sustainability, clinical and prefabrication techniques from two earlier projects, the Punmu and Parnngurr Aboriginal Health Clinics in the Western Australian Desert, 1800km from Perth, and 500 km from the nearest towns.
“Good buildings are not possible without great clients. This project is the culmination of all we have learnt from working with Martu communities for the last four years and the communities of the Western Australian Desert for the last decade,” he says.
“We take the time to listen to our clients and stakeholders without preconceptions. We do not prejudge their perspectives. By making a genuine effort to incorporate all perspectives, unique architecture is formed, architecture that is contextualised to people, place and culture, architecture with an inherent relevance.”
Photographer, Robert Frith, Acorn Photography
“This project shows what is possible from true collaboration with Aboriginal people. Their generosity and wisdom have taught us so much,” says Kaunitz.
Robby Chibawe, CEO of PAMS, says, “The respectful and collaborative approach by Kaunitz Yeung Architecture with the Martu Elders and communities has created a deep sense of ownership and pride in this health centre amongst the local community.
“Designing, creating and delivering a new building on time and within a tight budget is hard enough, let alone in the midst of global pandemic, but David and his team did just that with an abundance of professionalism and care.”