2021 - Kalkaringi,
Northern Territory

Kalkaringi and Daguragu Community/Child and Family Centre

  • Location: Kalkaringi
  • Completed: July 2021

The Bower Studio has been invited to partner with the Kalkaringi and Daguragu communities for several projects since our first meeting in 2014. This collaboration has led to the completion of the award-winning Wave Hill Walk-off Pavilions in 2016 and the extension to Karungkarni Arts Centre in 2018. Together we have also codesigned sports facilities for Kalkaringi’s Libanangu Park and built three ‘Big Shadies’ commissioned by Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation from Bower Studio’s HomesPLUS catalogue.

In 2019 Bower Studio was asked to help transform the ‘old clinic’ into a new community centre incorporating the Kalkaringi and Daguragu Child and Family Centre. While the clinic’s functions have since been relocated to a purpose-built facility, the old clinic remains significant for its historical value and prime location in the town centre close to the shop and with views over the natural landscape and Karungkarni Arts Centre. Many senior community members retain fond memories of the building as a significant gathering space where many community members were born.

The Bower Studio team was tasked with helping refurbish the facility to provide space for the Child and Family Centre program as well as offices for Karungkarni Arts and the Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation. The elders wished for the building to be restored and the landscaping designed to create culturally appropriate and safe spaces for various groups within the community to congregate.

Consultations with community leaders over seven years have consistently revealed a preference to maintain the same architectural language used in previous Bower Studio projects at Kalkaringi. This has placed value on the need for shaded and screened gathering spaces to provoke storytelling. The ‘kit of design parts’ that has emerged from these projects includes rusting steel columns and purlins, perforated steel panels, raw timber seating and articulated concrete plinths – elements specifically identified by the custodians of the ‘Walk-off’ stories during consultations at Jinbarak in 2014. This language had been used by Bower Studio to inform the three ‘Walk-off Pavilions’ commemorating the nationally significant Gurindji ‘walk-off’.

The 2021 project reconfigures this precedent with a series of three screens – perhaps to be viewed as ‘reframed Walk-off’ pavilions’ – towards the street frontages of the community centre building. Filtering light and views to and from the centre the screens help define the flexible gathering places that reveal themselves as the shade moves across the landscape throughout the day. Working on-site allowed the Bower Studio team to work with community leaders to best locate timber and steel seating to accommodate the changing shade and views as well as helping select appropriate landscaping materials, textures and finishes.

Research Documentaries

Community partners

  • Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation
  • Kalkaringi and Daguragu Child and Family Centre
  • Karungkarni Arts and Culture

Community representatives

  • Taysha Thompson
  • Simian Long
  • Amanda Newry
  • Rob Roy
  • Ben Window
  • Jesse (Welderman) Payne

Studio Leaders

  • David O’Brien
  • James Neil

Student Mentors

  • Shalini (Shaz) Rautela (2021)
  • Leif (Jase) Canuto (2021)
  • Emma Martin (2020)
  • Annabelle Roper (2020)


  • Maddy Laslett
  • Mac Caithness
  • Alice Woods
  • Ashwin Gunawardana
  • Tom Huntingford
  • Cheryl Cheuk Yee Lai
  • George Avraam
  • Gina Dahl
  • Grant Cullom
  • Maria Bulmaga

Special Thanks

Special thanks to our community representatives:

  • Rob Roy, Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation
  • Phil Smith, Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation
  • Penny Smith, Karungkarni Arts and Culture
  • Rosie Smiler, Karungkarni Arts and Culture
  • Richard Long, Karungkarni Arts and Culture

Industry Partners

Special thanks to our industry partners:

  • Jorja Zanotto (Arup)
  • Rachel Ngu (Arup)
  • George Stavrias (Stavrias Architects)
  • Jacqueline Mcshane (Dulux)
  • Peter Christoudias (Surdex)
  • Paul McDonald (Stramit)
  • Damien Collis (Holcim)
  • Jacqui Piddick (Holcim)
  • Goran Djurasinovic (Nepean Building Supplies)

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