Signature Pilbara buildings cut fine figure in WA Architecture Awards
Four striking buildings standing tall in the vast red Pilbara landscape are in the running for the Australian Institute of Architect’s WA chapter awards.
The East Pilbara Arts Centre, Dampier Community Hub, Karratha Super Clinic and South Hedland Youth Involvement Centre are representing the Pilbara among a record 148 nominations for this year’s WA Architecture Awards, which honour excellence in the State’s design and construction industries.
Awards are given across 13 categories, with another prize, the George Temple Poole Award, presented to the project judged to be the best overall.
Three Pilbara entries — the East Pilbara Arts Centre, Dampier Community Hub and Karratha Super Clinic — are nominees in the public architecture category.
Gresley Abas architect Alex Quin, who designed the Dampier Community Hub, said his company had been seeking to do a project in the Pilbara for some time, hoping to draw artistic inspiration from its dramatic landscape.
“We’re enamoured by that romance of the Pilbara — its endless horizons, endless sky, endless ocean, endless plains,” he said.
“It’s just that romance of such an ancient country in such a significant landscape and environment.”
Mr Quin said the hub had been carefully designed to fit the physical and cultural elements of Dampier, with its colourful outside screens inspired by dappled shadows and ochre rock striations their architects had noticed in the area.
Of focus in the East Pilbara Arts Centre entry was its large-scale durable materials and the “transformational” effect the building would have for the Newman community, while the Karratha Super Clinic’s vibrant colours, wide spaces and echoes of its natural surroundings were highlighted in its nomination.
Meanwhile the South Hedland Youth Involvement Centre is also representing the Pilbara in the commercial architecture category.
A spokeswoman for architecture firm Whitehaus said they had designed the space to allow local not-for-profit the Youth Involvement Council to fulfil the needs of service providers and had a focus on enriching and encouraging the growth of the at-risk children who they helped.
Mr Quin said it was a privilege for any architect to have their project nominated for the awards.
“We love (the Dampier Community Hub) and this typifies what we want our projects to be and the type of work we chase, because it’s based on something that’s much bigger than us. We get the privilege of turning those pragmatic, structural criteria communities have into something that functions and does those other things they employ us to do,” he said.
The winners of the WA Architecture Awards will be announced at a presentation evening in Perth on June 23.
The East Pilbara Arts Centre building.