WA Indigenous Elders apartments win at 2015 Sustainability Awards

Architecture and Design

The Walumba Elders Centre by iredale pedersen hook architects (ipha) was the winner of the Multi-Density Category prize and the Best of the Best award at the 2015 Sustainability Awards. ipha received the prestigious honour at the awards ahead of 68 finalists and a record number of entries.  


On 13 March, 2011 the Giga people’s home town of Warmun was devastated by a catastrophic one in 300 year flood event. Three hundred people were displaced for 12 months while new houses were built.

Working directly with the community Elders and the Home and Community Care staff, iredale pedersen hook architects designed a new home for the Elders based on their Cultural and social needs. The site was selected to be close to the school and town centre to ensure the Elders are able to continue their role as educators and Cultural leaders.

Addressing the Cultural requirements of the Giga people is a sustainability initiative. The Cultural needs of the community were given priority.


  • Reciprocal responsibilities – by providing a variety of spaces for family members of all ages to meet
  • Balancing privacy and family access- via controlling entry points to the facility to allow for simple visitation control
  • Generous outdoor living and private balconies to all bedrooms
  • Supporting Lore and Culture activities- fire pits on the main and ground activity areas, FIP isolation of rooms for smoking ceremonies, gender specific private activity areas
  • Avoidance relationships- by providing multiple paths of travel and good passive surveillance
  • Cultural surveillance – by providing good internal and external passive surveillance
  • Supporting cultural activities by planting bush medicine plants and smoking ceremony plants
  • Future proofing against future floods
  • Minimisation of power consumption
  • Maximise shade throughout the day- allow for more external living on protected veranda spaces the use of vertical polyester shading panels for natural lighting. Many of the residents are painters and have poor eyesight so high levels of natural light are desired.
  • Breeze paths have been carefully considered and pavilions are spaced to provide breeze paths across activity areas to provide for natural cooling.
  • Low energy level, long life LED lamps have been used extensively
  • Water heating via Solar Hot water system with a continuous flow pump
  • High levels of insulation including verandah soffits

Read more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *