An undulating grey roof shelters the courthouse, announcing the building’s presence without admonishment
The isolated north-western town of Kununurra has around 7,000 inhabitants and is mostly characterised by an undistinguished low-rise Outback architecture. But from its sea of corrugated roofs protrudes a strange, eye-catching profile – a form not entirely alien to this townscape of big sheds and small shacks but distinguished by its scale and thoughtfulness. This undulating grey roof shelters the courthouse, announcing the building’s presence without admonishment. Softening the juridical function is the theme here – a local landscape is engraved on the building’s flank and a generously scaled public foyer lined, like much of the interior, with timber and indigenous artworks. These tactical engagements with place mediate between state power and Aboriginal populace, an often fraught relationship that may not be resolvable by architecture. Yet the provision of such comfortable spaces for people undergoing stressful experiences is welcome.