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Australia Just Opened the Climate Change-Focused Museum of the Future—And It’s Beautiful | Architectural Digest
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Australia Just Opened the Climate Change-Focused Museum of the Future—And It’s Beautiful | Architectural Digest

bridge between trees


In places where the effects of climate change are as frequent as they are devastating, sustainable architecture is perhaps as—if not more—important as aesthetics. BundanonThe 1000-hectare arts destination located in regional New South Wales (Australia) is taking sustainability up a level that is quite extraordinary. Designed by an Australian firm Kerstin Thompson Architects(KTA), the brand new Art Museum and Bridge for Creative Learning, is designed to adapt and respond to both Future and current climate catastrophes. The bridge, nearly 530 feet long, is high enough that floodwaters could flow beneath it instead of on it. What’s more, the art museum is hidden within a hill to protect itself against wildfires. And if this wasn’t impressive enough for a building, this beautifully constructed fire-resistant infrastructure happens to house a $46.5-million, 4,000-piece contemporary art collection.

To avoid flooding, the Bridge is built on stilts. It was designed so that it could adapt to, and even benefit from, climate change-induced events. The Bridge is flooded by flood waters. The water is captured and stored for future use. The whole structure is powered entirely by solar energy.

Photo: Zan Wimberley

The new structures were opened to the public on January 29, with an official ceremony and festival celebrating events coming later in 2018. They were designed to be environmentally friendly. “Art museums have historically run with high energy consumption,” Bundanon CEO Rachel Kent explains. “Both cooling and heating systems are needed, for example, to maintain a stable temperature critical to the conservation of artworks. This is clearly not sustainable given the current climate crisis. It is vital that museums and galleries, like other industry sectors, actively seek solutions that aim to have a net-zero energy target.”

Chief among the energy-saving elements at Bundanon’s new art museum is the solar panels that power the entire museum. The home of Arthur Boyd and Yvonne, the famed Australian artist, will be one of the structures that will house the solar panels. Though the estate covers a large swath of ground—2,471 acres, to be exact—it’s split up into two clusters. The first groups the Homestead, Arthur Boyd Studio, and Artists in Residence Complex, while the second one houses the Boyd Education Centre, the new KTA–designed Art Museum, and The Bridge.


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