walu-win Wellness Centre

Kaunitz Yeung Architecture

The walu-win wellbeing centre is a rehabilitation centre in Orange, western New South Wales, 300 kilometres west of Sydney. Wula-win means ‘healthy’ in the local Wiradjuri language. The client, the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS), is a community controlled, owned and operated organisation that provides medical and primary healthcare services. Its focus is the delivery of culturally sensitive, holistic and professional healthcare for Aboriginal people and the wider community.

The building sits harmoniously as a pavilion in the evolving community garden, which provides an important learning and cultural space for local culture. As such it was important that the building was contextualised and engendered a high level of community ownership. The centre provides complementary rehabilitation services predominantly for community elders. As such there was a strong requirement to create a resonance with local elders through the architecture.

Community engagement from the earliest stages underpinned the design process. This guided a design that is harmonised with ‘country’ and humanised. This was achieved using Australian timber from a sustainable indigenous source and reclaimed local bricks. These combine to accentuate the simple twisted form of the Colorbond roof.

The use of natural, long lasting and sustainable materials makes this building intrinsically sustainable. The roof, windows and building framing is 100-per-cent recyclable. All fittings are energy and water efficient. The building plan is highly efficient to maximise space provided and these spaces are flexible to enable the building to adapt over time. The plan provides natural light and ventilation from at least two directions. This is important to avoid any feeling of claustrophobia and reinforce the ideas of wellbeing.

Most importantly the building has become a much-loved addition to the community and embraced by its elders. This will ensure that the building is well utilised, even as its use adapts over time.

Furniture: Slender You Australia, Sonata. Lighting: Standard. Finishes: Lysaght, Armstrong Flooring Commercial, Regupol. Fittings & Fixtures: Caroma, Britex.

Photography: Brett Boardman