KTA completes Bundanon Art Museum in Australia with habitable flood bridge

Australian practice Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) completed a group of buildings for the Bundanon Art Museum in New South Wales, including a habitable flood bridge containing residences and educational spaces.

Originally gifted to the people of Australia by artists Arthur and Yvonne Boyd in 1993, the Bundanon site comprises 1,000 hectares of bushland and parkland overlooking the River Shoalhaven near the town of Nowra.

The rural site has long been prone to both flooding and fire, and Melbourne-based KTA designed the new facilities to be resilient and sensitive to this landscape, pushing the museum underground and elevating the center of education on an anti-flood bridge.

Kerstin Thompson Architects built the Bundanon Art Museum group of buildings

“The design seeks to increase appreciation of the sights, sounds, textures and ecological functioning of the landscape,” explained the practice.

“[This] enables a significant shift in thinking about how we respond to meaningful landscape: from a purely scenic or visual understanding to an ecological understanding that takes into account natural and extended environmental systems,” he continued.

KTA developed the Bundanon Art Museum project with Atelier Ten, who were responsible for the environmental design and general planning of the project.

Arranged around a stepped concrete forecourt, the new complex incorporates an existing set of buildings, including the Boyd Education Centre, designed by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt in 1999, and the original farmhouse and workshop of Boyd.

Exterior image of the Bundanon Art Museum Flood Bridge Education Center
He placed an education center on a flood bridge

The existing studio buildings – now housing a visitor center – sit opposite a new gallery and museum space, buried under the sloping site to help protect it from the risk of fire and to prevent not impact views of the Boyd Education Center to the south.

Two exhibition spaces and a collection store sit under a pitched concrete roof, with deep skylights that allow a choice of natural or artificial lighting.

To the north, the Bridge for Creative Learning is a 165-meter-long metal bridge that crosses the ravine, creating a spectacular setting for 64 residences open to educational groups and the public.

Finished with a corrugated iron roof and black corrugated iron siding, this bridge features open areas protected by wire mesh that allows for uninterrupted views of the landscape.

Image of people sitting under the corrugated iron roof of Bundanon Art Museums
A corrugated roof tops the building

“Reminiscent of trestle bridges endemic to floodscapes like this, the dramatic bridge structure straddles the ravine from ridge to ridge, allowing sporadic water to flow beneath and for the restoration of the ravine’s ecology. wet,” the practice said.

“It is both bold and sensitive: sometimes striking and courageous in its clarity and breadth, and at other times recessive and delicate,” he continued.

Interior image of a gallery space
The building houses art galleries

Kerstin Thompson founded KTA in 1994, and the practice often involves landscape-sensitive responses in her designs.

Previous projects include an underground wine cellar and tasting room for an Australian vineyard, and a low, minimal house nestled into the hillside in a nature reserve near Melbourne.

Photography is by Rory Gardiner.

Mildred D. Field