Australian architecture studio Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) is behind the spectacular new Bundanon Art Museum & The Bridge for Creative Learning. Located in the rural town of Shoalhaven, two and a half hours south of Sydney, the striking new museum stretches 160m (525ft) across a ravine and is built to withstand the damaging effects of climate change.
The museum’s design is inspired by classic Australian rural architecture and thus incorporates the use of black stained timber and an iconic corrugated steel roof. The museum resembles a very long trestle bridge that crosses the natural landscape, while integrating key cultural and historical aspects of the site, such as the strong indigenous past and the wealth of works by Australian artist Arthur Boyd, who offered the 1,100-hectare (2,718-acre) property to the local community in 1993, six years before his death in 1999.
“[The museum] responds to the landscape as subject and site of Arthur Boyd’s work and draws on the key interests evident in his paintings: the dynamic landscapes of fire and flood, the contrast and interplay between natural landscapes and cultural, indigenous and exotic as a fundamental source of inspiration for new works”, explains KTA.
Respecting the local environment, the new cultural center has been built to withstand both bushfires and flooding in response to recent climate change impacts deeply felt by the local community, including the disastrous bushfires in summer of 2020 and the dramatic floods that followed a few months later. Thus, the 160 m long (525 ft) by 9 m wide (30 ft) building acts as an anti-flood bridge, reducing the impact and damage in the event of flooding. The structure was also built into the side of a hill, to protect interior spaces from rising outdoor temperatures and bushfires.
The structure was built with several sustainable initiatives to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The museum is equipped with solar panels on the roof for a supply of green energy; an innovative passive temperature management system; black water treatment; and rainwater harvesting.
The 500 m² (5,382 sq ft) art museum houses an extensive gallery of contemporary art; innovative creative learning center for school children; visitor center; and overnight accommodation. Part of the building is built underground to protect the Arthur Boyd art collection worth 37.5 million Australian dollars (25.8 million US dollars) from climate exposure, while providing a optimal interior thermal stability.
“The design concept both preserves and transforms, is both subtle and dramatic,” explains the company. “The renowned aspects of the current setting are maintained and their presence enhanced through a range of new and compelling experiences for visitors. It integrates architecture and landscape into the broader continuum of site ecological and environmental systems.
The Bundanon Art Museum & The Bridge for Creative Learning for the Bundanon Trust will present an annual program of exhibitions including modern, contemporary and indigenous art.