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REMOTE ARCHITECTURE AWARDED – Kiwirrkura Art Centre architects awarded

Papunya Tula Artists Pty Ltd congratulates Tangentyere Design, architects of their Kiwirrkura Art Centre and finalists for the prestigious 2011 National Architecture Awards in Hobart on 3 November. The peer-assessed awards of the Australian Institute of Architects involved a jury of national architects converging on the remote community of Kiwirrkura in Western Australia. Clearly impressed with the Kiwirrkura Art Centre, the jury selected Tangentyere Design as winner of the Indigenous Community Architecture Award at the recent 2011 NT Architecture Awards in Darwin.

Transforming a disused storeroom in the traditional homeland of the Pintupi people, Tangentyere Design created a practical and iconic civic space for the community’s Western Desert artists. In awarding the Alice Springs based architects, the judges acknowledged, “the settlement is in one of the remotest locations on the planet. In a prominent location in the small Gibson Desert village, the new art centre…acts as focal point for the community”.

Not just an art centre

While in Kiwirrkura the jury observed many locals, including artists, who “came to sit in the ‘verandah spaces’ under swallow wing roofs and overhangs” that capture breezes, provide heat extraction and “allows natural light into the two lofty internal studio spaces.” In a symbolic sense the building is not just an art centre. Armed with a pragmatic budget and a specific project brief, Tangentyere Design were engaged to provide a painting space for artists that would also be a meeting place for the community. As the jury observed, “considering its isolated and harsh context, the building is robust … and will continue to play a central function for the continuing evolution of Papunya Tula Artists and the community’s social interaction, well into the future”.

The studio includes a central paint mixing area and men’s and women’s painting space on either side. Further additions include an office and cataloguing room, kitchenette as well as a toilet and shower. On the north and south side of the building there will be two large verandahs and an outside painting area.

The Kiwirrkura Art Centre represents the final phase of infrastructure upgrades to Papunya Tula Artists’ studio and accommodation facilities in Kintore and Kiwirrkura. These art centres make possible the company’s ongoing support of western desert dialysis providers Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, the Kintore Pool and many other community activities and events. The popular success of the art movement empowers Papunya Tula Artists to support autonomy and wellbeing for thousands of Western Desert people.

Thanks to Andrew Broffman and his team of architects at Tangentyere Design for their great work.