Bridge museum spanning 160-m gully is built to withstand climate change
Australian architectural 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 an impressive 160 m (525 ft) across a gully and is built to withstand the harsh effects climate change.
The design of the museum is inspired by classic Australian rural architecture, and thus incorporates the use of black-stained timber and iconic rippled steel roofing. The museum resembles an extra long trestle bridge that cuts across the natural landscape, while also integrating key cultural and historical aspects from the site, such as the strong indigenous past and the richness of works from Australian artist, Arthur Boyd, who gifted the 1,100-hectare (2,718-ac) property to the local community in 1993, six years prior to his death in 1999.
“[The museum] responds to the landscape as both subject and site of Arthur Boyd’s work and draws upon key interests evident in his paintings: the dynamic landscapes of fire and flood, the contrast and interplay between natural and cultural, indigenous and exotic landscapes as fundamental inspiration to new works,” explains KTA.
Respecting the local environment, the new cultural hub has been built to withstand both bushfires and flooding in response to the recent impacts of climate change deeply felt by the local community, including the disastrous summer bushfires of 2020 and dramatic floods that followed only months later. Thus the 160-m-long (525-ft) by 9-m-wide (30-ft) building acts like a flood-bridge, reducing impact and damage in the event of flooding. The structure has also been built into the side of a hill, in order to protect the interior spaces from exterior rising temperatures and bushfires
The structure has been built with several sustainable initiatives to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The museum is equipped with rooftop solar panels for a green energy supply; an innovative passive temperature management system; black water treatment; and rainwater harvesting.
The 500-sq-m (5,382-sq-ft) art museum boasts an expansive contemporary art gallery; innovative creative learning center for school students; visitor hub; and overnight accommodation. Part of the building is built underground in order to protect the Arthur Boyd art collection valued at AU$37.5 million (US$25.8 million) from climate exposure, while providing optimal interior thermal stability.
“The design concept both preserves and transforms, is equal parts subtle and dramatic,” says the firm. “Renowned aspects of the current setting are maintained and their presence enhanced with an array of new and compelling visitor experiences. It integrates architecture and landscape within the broader continuum of the site’s ecology and environmental systems.”
The Bundanon Art Museum & The Bridge for Creative Learning for the Bundanon Trust will present an annual program of exhibitions comprised of modern, contemporary, and indigenous art.