2013 National Architecture Awards: Public

West Kimberley Regional Prison by TAG Architects and Iredale Pedersen Hook Public Architecture: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

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 project review by Elizabeth Grant and Peter Hobbs for Architecture Australia.


TAG Architects
Perth, WA, Australia
Project Team
Jurg Hunziker, Michael Spight, Johnathan Alach, Melanie Burnett, Daniel Bubnich, Hayley Brigatti, Daniela Casadio, Alicia Hitchcock, Julie-Anne McGuinness, Cynthia Teng, Finn Pedersen, Adrian Iredale, Martyn Hook, Rebecca Angus, Shiva Amir-Ansari, Vincci Chow, Caroline di Costa, Jemma van Dongen, Cherie Kaptein, Khairani Khalifah, Kylene Tan
Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects
Acoustic consultant Cottee Constructions
Acoustics AECOM Perth
Builder Cooper & Oxley Builders, Pindan
Code consultant John Massey Group
ESD Cottee Constructions, AECOM Perth
Electrical engineer Sinclair Knight Merz
Flora species selection specialist Tim Willing
Geotechnical engineer Douglas Partners
Hydraulic consultant Norman Disney Young
Landscape architects Clouston Associates
Local architect NBC Aboriginal Corporation, Tim Willing
Mechanical and fire services AECOM Perth
Project manager Coffey Projects
Quantity surveyor WT Partnership
Security consultant Sinclair Knight Merz
Security engineers Boffa Miskell - Wellington
Structural and civil engineer Pritchard Francis
Surveyor MAKJaP
Time planner DW Kolagow and Associates, JCA Project Planning (formerly James Clark & Associates)
Site Details
Site type Rural
Project Details
Status Built
Category Public / cultural



Published online: 7 Nov 2013
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2013
Images: Peter Bennetts


Architecture Australia, November 2013

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