wilson architects, in association with clarke and prince architects, has designed the new australian institute of tropical health and medicine (aithm) on thursday island. aithm was established by james cook university and encompasses three new health research facilities located in townsville, cairns, and in the torres strait.

the colours used in the exterior reflect colours found in the local flora and fauna


the facility brings together the expertise of a number of research centres to enhance infectious disease, chronic disease, public health, translational and health systems research. research undertaken within aithm will strongly focus on the health problems of most importance to tropical australia and the tropics worldwide.

outdoor seating provides space for community consultation



the facility’s design recognises that research doesn’t just take place in laboratories. the design is a direct response to, and expression of, a place that is both remote and sometimes extreme. it leverages the site’s context proximate to the intensity of the blue waters and flora of thursday island. it is a reflection of the region and the tropics’ love for colour.

the design reflect the tropics’ love for colour



the exterior draws colours from nearby trees, flowers, the water and ground. the sloping site enables the laboratories as well as the short-term accommodation to make the most of the project’s extraordinary views to the ocean.

aithm connects to its landscape via open balconies that frame views



aithm facilitates cross-disciplinary research activities, research incubation and innovation translation into real outcomes. it includes accommodation space for researchers, and consultation rooms, to cater to the health needs of the local thursday island community.


project info:


location: thursday island, australia
design: wilson architects, clarke and prince architects


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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