The Centre for Remote Health in Alice Springs enhances the urban landscape by including issues surrounding the spiritual needs of Central Arrernte Aboriginal people and the direct connection they have to the natural features considered sacred. Notions of "culturally inclusive development" have been addressed through the recognition of a layered custodianship of the landscape by both the aboriginal and non-aboriginal community.
At this facility, tertiary education, training and research are conducted jointly between the Flinders University of SA and the Charles Darwin University of NT, with a focus on improving the health status of people in remote areas through improved health, staff recruitment and retention.
The grouping of the old trees that are the sacred sites have been used to inform the built form and site layout through the continuum of sight lines between the trees that form the 'cultural trail' and the physical embracement of those trees to create integral natural courtyards. Internal spaces open up to the elements when conditions are mild and the layout of the building wings and the placement of openings allows cross ventilation to be achieved with ease, offering flexible natural alternative working spaces to air-conditioned shells. The integration of a passive cooling system for the central internal spaces has been facilitated through the need to raise the building above the 1:100 modeled town flood levels. It consists of underfloor ducts that utilize thermal exchange and a solar roof system which promotes thermo-syphoning.
Together with a natural lighting regime, reverse brick veneer and controlled thermal mass construction, minimal fencing, an integral building management system and a bush medicine garden, the centre responsibility implements whole-of-life design principles. Through extensive consultation and negotiation between custodial groups, this facility achieves meaningful levels of climatic balance, functional arrangement and spiritual affinity. From Stage I the development has grown naturally to incorporate: Stage II: a Flinders University initiative housing medical associations and external educators. Stage III: a planned extension of Stage I, completed in early 2009