kaunitz yeung architecture has completed the first aboriginal health clinic in the remote town of newman, western australia. the sydney-based firm, which is well known for their work in remote aboriginal communities (see previous coverage here), constructed the ‘puntukurnu aboriginal medical services (PAMS) newman clinic’  using rammed earth exclusively from the site. the building develops around a sheltered courtyard, where sustainable australian hardwoods are used to minimize the heat effect.

top view of kaunitz yeung architecture's aboriginal health clinic in western australiaall images by robert frith, acorn photography



kaunitz yeung architecture has delivered a state-of-the-art-building for the aboriginal communities in newman, a remote town located 1200 km north of perth. commissioned by the puntukurnu aboriginal medical services (PAMS) the clinic places wellness at the center of the community and offers access to better healthcare. it is complete with an operational center that means that patients 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.front elevation of the rammed earth clinic



‘good buildings are not possible without great clients,’ says david kaunitz, director and lead architect at kaunitz yeung architecture. ‘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. 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. this project shows what is possible from true collaboration with aboriginal people. their generosity and wisdom have taught us so much.’kaunitz yeung architecture used rammed earth exclusively from the site



the clinic is built using sustainable materials, such as rammed earth exclusively from the site. as such, it reduces the embodied energy of the building as it would have otherwise been clad in manufactured materials transported from perth, or concrete. state-of-the-art insulation assists in keeping the heat out, an key feature for the 40-50 degree summer temperatures newman often experiences. the building is topped with a 150kw rooftop photovoltaic system that will offer a 13% increase in power to the local community as well as providing 85% of the medical clinic’s own electricity.art screens form window protection on most windows and the entry gates



at the center of the project, a courtyard built with australian hardwoods minimizes the heat effect and invites visitors in a sheltered open space complete with mature eucalyptus vitrix, which were already on site. over 2000 local endemic plants were used to create low maintenance, robust and relevant landscaping, which ecologically repairs the degrade site with endemic species and shades the building. last, kaunitz yeung advised on the types of art that would suit the fabrication techniques, but the art was chosen by the community. the resultant art screens form window protection on most windows and the entry gates, filtering light into the rooms and causing changing projections.the central open courtyard is built with australian hardwoods that minimize the heat effect



‘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,’ says robby chibawe, CEO of PAMS. ‘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.’the art in the project was chosen by the aboriginal community the clinic is built for



project info:


name: puntukurnu aboriginal medical services (PAMS) newman clinic

architect: kaunitz yeung architecture

location: newman, western australia