Noongar Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services (N.A.S.A.S.)
Aboriginal Health Council of W.A.

Status: Completed
Duration: 2004 to 2005
Construction Value: $2.5M

Creating a place of healing

The Noongar Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services (N.A.S.A.S.) provides a vital role in the treatment, counselling and referral support of Aboriginal people with alcohol and drug-related problems. MPS Architects was commissioned to build a purpose-designed facility for N.A.S.A.S. in Royal Street, East Perth.

Main goals of the project

• Develop a facility that could provide a safe, welcoming and cultural response.
• Optimise available funding by the use of simple design and construction solutions, which allowed for increased expenditure on the focal foyer area.
• Adopt a sustainable design approach to minimise recurrent expenditure.


Developing a nurturing and holistic aesthetic for the building and surrounding landscape was particularly important for this project. As it is a place of healing, it was important that the facility should blend in with the existing landscape, including the Debarl Yerrigan Health Service building next door. Its indigenous purpose is identified via the use of landscape design and colour rather than the more obvious application of signs and branding.

The design

The building itself needed to be as welcoming and inviting as possible. Low, long lines help to create an unimposing and calming façade. The central foyer was designed to be the focal meeting place. The exaggerated height of the foyer and the use of fully glazed walls allow a connection between the interior and nature. The foyer’s central axis purposely aligns with several large trees, which are deemed to have cultural significance to the Noongar people.

Sustainable design approach

The facility was built in accordance with sustainable design practices, introducing northern light to most parts of the building, which reduces heat load in summer and increases winter sun penetration. This approach minimises the need for ongoing heating and cooling costs.

Team Effort

The MPS Architects team was led by Brett Priest (Design and Project Management). Our team worked closely with the Aboriginal Health Council to identify requirements, critical design and cultural issues.

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