The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Canberra, ACT
ARM Architecture

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is Australia's leading centre for the research of our early Australian peoples. The Institute, sited adjacent to the National Museum of Australia, holds a large library of files, rare books, photographic and voice recordings in its vaults and stores. The Institute provides a public library and research function in addition to its dedicated research and publication areas.

The AIATSIS building is sited to achieve both engagement with the site and other institutions, but also express its independence and significance. Located on the western flank of the Peninsula the building takes maximum advantage of spectacular views across the water to the Brindabellas while at the same time creating a courtyard garden facing the lake.

The planning of AIATSIS is essentially driven by three factors: the site masterplan, the nature of the brief which requires most of the habitable spaces to have direct access to windows, and the split between the more public functions such as the library and indigenous access and the more private functions such as research, archives and production, aboriginal press and administration.

The main reading room enjoys wonderful views to the courtyard and across the lake to the Brindabellas. It is a two storey high space, with both stacks and rare book storage, as is overlooked by library staff from offices above. The Boardroom itself is directly aligned to the historic courtyard trees and the Brindabellas beyond.

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