JCU Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), Thursday Island

Wilson Architects in collaboration with Clarke and Prince Architects.

The Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) established at James Cook University (JCU) includes three new facilities located in Townsville, Cairns and in the Torres Strait. Funded by the Queensland Government through the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, the third stage is the construction of a research facility on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

Wilson Architects in association with Clarke and Prince Architects collaborated as the Principal Consultant for the briefing,  design,  documentation and procurement of the world-class AITHM facility. The primary contribution will be in health security research,  which will include the development of diagnostic tools, vaccines, the identification of bacterial pathogens and the direct engagement with tropical health medical practitioners.

The building shape is formed as a reaction to the immediate site conditions, as well as a response to the functional requirements of a building which is to be a place for work and research, and a place for living. Colourful slatted screens are the main architectural expression, reflection the vivid colours of the Torres Strait. Performing as a permeable screen that also folds into the wall finish, it provides privacy where required, protection from sunlight and glare and control of solar heat gains, it also becomes a device that mitigates against prevailing winds.


Address Thursday Island, Queensland
Client James Cook University
Completed 2019
Builder Hutchinson Builders

Consultant Team
Mechanical WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Electrical WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff
Hydraulic MRP Consultants
Landscape Wilson Architects
Building Surveyor Baker Building Certification
Surveyor & Town Planning RPS Group


  • 2019 Australian Institute of Architects QLD – Award for Educational Architecture
  • 2019 Australian Institute of Architects QLD – Commendation for Sustainable Architecture
  • 2019 Australian Institute of Architects FNQ – Regional Commendation (Educational Architecture)
  • 2019 Australian Institute of Architects FNQ – Eddie Oribin Award for Building of the Year