Puntukurnu AMS Healthcare Hub

  • 2021

  • Architectural
    Architectual Design

Designed By:

  • David Kaunitz - Kaunitz Yeung Architecture
  • Emma Trask - Kaunitz Yeung Architecture
  • Marni Reti - Kaunitz Yeung Architecture

Commissioned By:

Puntukurnu Aboriginal Medical Service

Designed In:


The project provides a state-of-the-art healthcare facility which is deeply rooted in place and imbued with humanity engendering community ownership. This is central to physically representing the ethos of the client and increasing presentation rates. Above all this is achieved by involving Aboriginal people and respecting/reflecting people, culture and Country.

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Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
Image: Robert Frith: Acorn Photography
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  • The challenge of this project was to deliver a state of the art health facility in one of the most remote and hot towns (over 50 degrees in summer) in Australia 1200km from the nearest capital Perth. It needed to do so whilst providing highly culturally appropriate healthcare to the Martu desert communities, among the most remote and traditional communities in Australia. To do this the project needed to be imbued with humanity and deinstitionalise the experience. Above all it needed to provide a place where Aboriginal people felt comfortable to increase presentation rates, fundamental to closing the gap.

  • This project is deeply rooted in place and imbued with humanity that engenders community ownership. It does so by cladding the building in rammed earth using earth from the site, incorporating art from female and male artists from the 5 communities, incorporating 150kW of photovoltaics that produce 100% of electricity when the sun shines (more than 85% overall) and landscaping with more than 4000 endemic plants. Above all, this is achieved by genuinely involving Aboriginal people and respecting / reflecting people, culture, and Country. This was all achieved within the standard Commonwealth Government funding for similar buildings.

  • "This project was the result of extensive consultation by the architect with the community being part and parcel of the design of the building. They have a lot of input in what they wanted to see in the finished product. An example is how the Martu elders and others from all the four desert communities and Newman have been incorporated into the project. The outcome has been embraced by the community and been a great success with remarkably high presentation rates. This shows the community are comfortable here and enables PAMS to extend our wellness activities." Robby Chibawe PAMS CEO

  • Key Features: 1. Design Approach: was underpinned by the co-design process. This facilitated iterative consultation and a genuine co-design process with the community and specific user groups. The result is a fine tuning of the architecture that resonates with community, enriching the architecture by making it subtly more appropriate to people, place and culture. 2. Courtyard Archetype: The courtyard forms the fulcrum of the building, dividing administration and clinic whilst providing outdoor waiting. 3. Rammed Earth: All earth was from the site avoiding transporting materials 1200km from Perth. Above all the incorporation of country in the building creates an intuitive connection with local people. 4. Integration of Art: includes 19 artists representing the 5 communities n the building services and was selected by the communities. 5. Landscaping & Public Realm: Over 2000 local endemic plants were used to create low maintenance, robust and relevant landscaping. For the first time a public park has been created in Newman under the ownership of an Aboriginal organisation. 6. Sustainability: 150kW rooftop photovoltaic array which will provide 100% of the buildings electricity when the sun is shining and more than 80% of all power.