TAG wins at the Institute’s 2013 National Architecture Awards

08 Nov 2013

TAG / iredale pedersen hook architects in association received numerous awards for the West Kimberley Regional Prison, at the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Award ceremony.


David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture

TAG / IPH architects are the first recipients of the David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture, one of two new named awards introduced at this year’s event.

Upon awarding the highest named award in the Sustainable category, the jury made the following statement;

“In its exploration and successful reframing of the prison typology, the West Kimberley Regional Prison integrates excellence in sustainability across environmental and social terms.

“A focus on amenity drawn from response to environmental and climatic factors becomes an operative strategy for successfully addressing cultural issues associated with housing Indigenous prisoners.

“By ensuring cross-ventilation in smaller pavilions with good access to natural light and the local landscape, an environment has been provided that respects cultural differences and becomes a significant aspect in the approach of rehabilitation to enable subsequent contribution back to communities.

“Preservation of the existing biodiversity and natural landscape, extensive and localized approaches to water use and control, passive and active solar responses and a number of strategies for embodied and consumable energy reduction have all been integrated and demonstrate excellence in environmental sustainability.”

Read the full ArchitectureAU article.


National Public Architecture Award

The project was also awarded in the category National Public Architecture, the jury stating;

“This project has re-imagined the role of a prison as a place of refuge and rehabilitation. Although it was designed for the specific requirements of Indigenous Australians, it suggests better ways of dealing with incarceration for all cultures. The design process expanded from a schedule of accommodation to a collaborative process of investigation into the philosophy of incarceration and rehabilitation, where theory informed design, then design informed operations.

“Within a secure perimeter, the project has developed clear and logical responses to Indigenous spatial culture and the extreme climate to accommodate functional requirements from the ground up. The design of the buildings provides security without claustrophobia. The architecture aligns the problems of air movement for climate, visual perforation for security, and Indigenous need for open spaces, then solves them simultaneously with open-cornered facilities that only shelter, never trap; only filter, never shut.

“The bush-coloured steel pavilions are distributed around a football field, in a boab-dotted landscape. The pavilions are linked through materials and a common language of form. Security is discreet and well integrated, with little semblance to a traditional prison.

“The project provokes disturbing questions about the conditions experienced by the Indigenous population on the other side of the security fence.”

Read the full ArchitectureAU article.


National Commendation for Colorbond Steel Architecture

In addition to the named sustainability award and public architecture award, the West Kimberley Regional Prison was also recognised for innovative and appropriate use of steel in the Kimberley region, receiving a National Commendation for Colorbond Steel Architecture.

“West Kimberley Regional Prison exploits its steel structure and coloured steel cladding in ways that are perfect for the Kimberley climate. The prison, within its secure perimeter, provides detached buildings that accommodate the needs of Indigenous prisoners.

“The project makes excellent use of coloured steel sheeting. The colours used are perfectly in harmony with native bush colours, allowing the buildings to fit very comfortably with the landscaping. Lightweight cladding is an excellent choice for the hot, wet/dry climate. It avoids a build-up of heat in thermal mass, allowing the buildings to quickly cool down at night. The high strength of steel structures is perfect for large overhangs and big spans such as the sports hall.

“The architectural language aims for shelter without claustrophobia, using open corners and tilted planes. These openings are easily created with steel framing and cladding.”

Read the full ArchitectureAU article.


This project has received recognition for its contribution to architecture at the State, National and International level.

Click for more information and images of the West Kimberley Regional Prison.