West Kimberley Regional Prison

11 November 2013 — The inaugural David Oppenheim Award for sustainable architecture  has gone to West Kimberley Regional Prison by TAG Architects and Iredale Pedersen Hook.

The sustainability award this year has been elevated to a “named” award. The award commemorates David Oppenheim, a “distinguished architect and sustainability pioneer basing projects on architectural science and quantitative assessment”, according to the Australian Institute of Architects.

The $122 million West Kimberley Regional Prison is located on a 25-hectare greenfield site outside the town of Derby, and has been designed to hold up to 150 prisoners.

The design has taken into account flexibility, cultural appropriateness, the promotion of human interaction, and the ability for Indigenous prisoners to remain connected to their kin, land and community.

West Kimberley Regional Prison by TAG Architects and Iredale Pedersen Hook

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

“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 localised 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.”

The major award for public architecture – the Sir Zelman Cowen Award – went to the Perth Arena by ARM Architecture and Cameron Chisholm Nicol.

For all sustainability awards, see our article Converted toilet block takes out national sustainability award