The Garma Institute – Expression of Interest – Architectural Services

The Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF) is currently seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the engagement of an Architect to scope, design, and document the Garma Institute. This scope may extend into architectural services during construction.
Expressions of Interest will be assessed to create a short list of 3-4 architects. An Architect will be selected from the shortlist, and engagement agreements will be executed.
Please note that it is a requirement that the architect holds current registration.
All submissions are due by the 15th of March 2024 to be considered.
Send your submissions and any questions to

About the Yothu Yindi Foundation

YYF was established in 1990 to promote Yolngu cultural development under the guidance of community leaders and persons of authority from clan groups in East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. YYF’s mission is for Yolngu and other Indigenous Australians to have the same level of well-being and life opportunities as non-Indigenous Australians. The phrase ‘Yothu Yindi’ refers to the child-mother relationship, which has a special place in the Yolngu world, one which symbolises balance and harmony. Centred around Yolngu culture, YYF delivers projects across education, cultural, health, arts, and advocacy. YYF is most highly recognised for its delivery of the annual Garma Festival in East Arnhem Land.

About The Garma Institute

The concept of the Garma Institute (GI) is a tertiary Yolngu knowledge and education centre supporting a Yolngu-centred curriculum. The GI’s initial vision commenced alongside the inception of the YYF in 1990. Based on previous education work in the Region, the idea of the Garma Institute has taken many forms over the past 34 years. The GI aims to create the next generation of leaders in East Arnhem Land by providing educational opportunities which create employment and learning pathways, instil confidence, and are grounded in cultural practices.

Land tenure has been secured within the community of Gunyangara, Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land, NT for the Garma Institute.

YYF has recently secured federal funding for the scoping, design, and documentation of the Garma Institute. Initial community and key stakeholder consultations have begun to ensure the vision of the Garma Institute is in step with today’s needs and the future needs of the Region.

Please refer to Appendix 1 and 1a: Garma Institute Vision, p.7, for further information.

This vision was captured through engagement with YYF Yolngu Board.

Role of the Architect

YYF is looking to engage an architect early in the process to be involved in the scoping, design, and documentation of the building(s) in which the Garma Institute will reside, as part of a feasibility study. If successful, construction of the relevant infrastructure may at that point be added to the scope of services. The architect’s role will include the following:

  1. Work in with YYF team on consultations with community and key stakeholders.
  2. Implement an iterative design process based on community consultations.
  3. Creation of master plan, and well as full documentation of stage 1 works, as likely to be a staged construction process.
  4. Coordination of subconsultants, including QS, and relevant engineers.
  5. Timeline: To commence in May 2024 or prior if reasonable, duration to be dependent on scope and staging. Architect construction phase – Jan 2026 to 2028.

What YYF is looking for

  • Master planning capability
  • Experience in educational design
  • Experience in community/indigenous engagement
  • Experience of challenges building in Northern Territory/Remote Areas
  • Experience in designing buildings within tropical savannah climate zone of Australia.
  • High level of design expertise.
  • Innovative thinking particularly in relation to sustainability (environment, social, cultural, and economic)

Fill out the EOI below or download the pdf form and submit to by Friday, March 15th 2024.

Download PDF

Contact Details

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Questions to be completed with this form:

Please be noticed that submission after Friday, March 15th 2024 may not be considered.

As the Garma Institute becomes a reality we reflect upon those who dreamed it possible.

We acknowledge their vision of Nhaŋa Ŋathilyurra – Look ahead toward the future.

“One reed is easy to break, but a bundle of reeds is stronger, harder to break.That’s where the strength is, that’s where the power is.”

Barayuwah Mununggurr

Barayuwah’s quote is in reference to this community-led initiative of the Garma Institute and the power of education.

Demonstrate how you can use this story/understanding to inform your process.

Your challenge is to create a simple design that captures and visually reflects his words.

APPENDIX 1: Garma Institute Vision

To improve health outcomes for community By honouring traditional Yolngu ways A respectful place
So Yolngu ways are passed on through generations By offering unique ways of learning A respectful place
To acknowledge the value of Yolngu culture With Yolngu & balanda BOTH-WAYS learning A respectful place
To provide avenue for collaborative partnerships By creating world – class facilities Yolngu designed, owned & led
To grow strong leaders who can thrive everywhere By collaborating with partner universities An inclusive place
So we Yolngu can determine our own way forward With funding from many sources A place for learning
To provide everyone with an opportunity to grow By welcoming diverse voices to country
To create opportunities for cultural collaboration With support from you
To create a skilled workforce By offering vocational training
To grow academic minds in community By offering globally accredited courses
To provide tertiary education on country By creating a campus on Yolngu Country
To strengthen our community With a global network of supporters