MacDonnell Regional Council is the municipal council for 13 remote communities near Alice Springs. Councillors are elected Aboriginal community leaders. The new building extension houses council chambers and office accommodation for MDRC’s +70 staff. It retains the footings, slab, and vertical steel of a previous building, more than doubling the usable floor area via a 595m2 second storey.
The design gives priority to open work-areas and shared staff facilities, ensuring that daylight and views are available to everyone. The external sun screening is both building identity and crafted passive solar screening, with individual screens tailored to suit its orientation. The fresh colours of the screens are drawn from the young leaves of the River Red Gums in the adjacent river corridor.
The project achieved 2,747 hours of Indigenous labour and showcases local Aboriginal artists through the specification of the feature lights from Tjanpi Desert Weavers and wallpaper from Iwantja Arts
The new office for the MacDonnell Range Council demonstrates creative adaptive reuse of existing building structures to deliver a contemporary commercial facility in Alice Springs.
Cladded in simple robust materials, the clever use suspended steel sunscreens and colours inspired by the vegetation along the adjacent river corridor provides visual articulation and softens the external fabric. Internally, the design prioritises access to natural light for gathering areas. The central circulation spine is generous, and the integration of vibrant artwork injects colour and connects the two levels.
The Jury is impressed with the design rigour and articulation that has created moments of excellence, both internally and externally. The facility provides an excellent workspace for Council’s ever expanding work force that services the 13 communities southwest of Alice Springs.
Miriam Wallace, Project Architect
Susan Dugdale, Design Architect
Flynn Carr, Design Architect
BCA Engineers, Services Consultant
NJA Consulting Pty Ltd, Structural Engineer
Tecon Australia, Certifier
Optic Security, Security Contractor
Chubb, Fire Systems Coordinator