Biripi Aboriginal Health Clinic

Taree / Australia / 2017

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The award-winning, Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre’s Purfleet Clinic places wellbeing at the centre of the community and acknowledges the history of the site while pointing towards a more positive future. Built on the site of the former Purfleet Mission, which was created by the government in 1901 for the ‘protection and segregation’ of local aboriginal people, the Mission is now under aboriginal ownership and is an important accomplishment of self-determination.


The project unified the existing health buildings to create a community hub that wraps around a central courtyard and jacaranda tree, a significant meeting place for the Biripi people. The artwork featured in the entrance screen embodies the saltwater/freshwater tidal zone and at night becomes a beacon of light within the community.


THE BRIEF


The project brief called for a new main entrance and waiting area for the existing buildings, as well as new clinical and training space. The original clinic from the 1970s, built as a result of advocacy by the Purfleet Advancement League, was also to be incorporated in acknowledgement of the community’s journey of self-determination. It is now a gallery and museum space off the main waiting room with a focus on the history of health delivery in the community.


DESIGN APPROACH


The design approach was defined by thorough consultation that incorporated the community, aboriginal health workers, clinicians and health administrators. This


consultation clearly identified the social, economic and environmental factors that were required. The response to these factors is explicitly evident in the design. The social and environmental factors identified were quality of space, connection to the external environment, natural ventilation, history of the site and the culture of the community.


The project is intrinsically a purposeful intervention from its careful siting to unify and order the existing health campus to its flexible spaces. Unifying the existing health buildings enables their progressive renovation, eliminating the need for costly new infrastructure. The spaces themselves are large and flexible, designed to support evolving community and health uses.


INTERESTING FACT


The jacaranda tree in the outdoor waiting area was planted when the original clinic was built. It has been used as a place of ceremony and as a birthing tree under which many elders were born.


 


AWARDS


2018 World Architecture MasterPrize


Healthcare Award


 


2018 NSW Architecture Awards


Premier’s Prize


 


2018 NSW Architecture Awards


Award for Commercial Architecture


 


2018 NSW Architecture Awards


Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture


 


2017 European Healthcare Design Awards


Healthcare Design Under 25,000 sqm


 


2017 European Healthcare Design Awards


Design for Conversion or Infill 

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    The award-winning, Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre’s Purfleet Clinic places wellbeing at the centre of the community and acknowledges the history of the site while pointing towards a more positive future. Built on the site of the former Purfleet Mission, which was created by the government in 1901 for the ‘protection and segregation’ of local aboriginal people, the Mission is now under aboriginal ownership and is an important accomplishment of...

    Project details
    • Year 2017
    • Work started in 2016
    • Work finished in 2017
    • Main structure Steel
    • Client Biripi Aboriginal Health Service
    • Contractor Reeman Construction
    • Cost $1,000,000
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Government and institutional buildings / multi-purpose civic centres / Hospitals, private clinics
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