Bundanon’s expanded art museum and new bridge for creative learning is set to open on 29 January 2022, with an official ceremony to follow on 5 March 2022.

Designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, the 500sqm art museum located in the Shoalhaven will present three exhibition seasons per year of modern, contemporary and First Nations art, as well as new commissions. The precinct will also feature an expanded range of on-site events, including tailored learning and artistic residency programs.

Kerstin Thompson Architects Director, Kerstin Thompson, says the design is the result of a harmonious collaboration between the practice, landscape architects Wraight Associates with Craig Burton and sustainable design engineers Atelier 10. 

“The design is driven by Bundanon's main imperative, as established by the Boyd family, to foster an appreciation for and understanding of landscape and art,” she says.

“We have placed the site's ecology at the centre of the design with the new suite of buildings and landscapes responding to Bundanon as both subject and site of Arthur Boyd's work, seeking to heighten the visitor's appreciation for the sights, sounds, textures, and ecological workings of the landscape. Both the Art Museum and Bridge respond to current and future climatic conditions, with inspiration drawn from rural Australia’s trestle flood bridges.”

The Art Museum opens with the inaugural exhibition, From impulse to action, which draws on the creative energy of experimentation. Running from 29 January until 12 June 2022, Arthur Boyd’s drawings were often the basis for larger works in his lifetime, leading to collaborative and multidisciplinary projects. Exhibition Curator Sophie O’Brien has selected twelve new commissions by Australian contemporary artists, working in a diverse range of disciplines, including choreography and film, photography and performance, weaving and sound, and clay from the Bundanon site. 

bundanon bridge kerstin thompson architects

The Bridge is a 160-metre long by 9-metre-wide structure that spans the existing gully in the sloping hillside, housing a world-class creative learning centre, with break out spaces. It offers accommodation for up to 64 guests and café and dining facilities offering sweeping views over the Shoalhaven River. It additionally includes a state-of-the-art storage facility that will house and protect Bundanon's extensive $46.5 million collection of some 4,000 items.

The project has become a reality thanks to a $22.5 million investment from the Australian Government, $10.3 million from the NSW Government and philanthropic support. Minister for the Arts, Ben Franklin, says the NSW Government is proud to be involved in the funding of the Art Museum.

Minister Franklin notes: “The NSW Government is thrilled to have played its part in supporting the new Art Museum for Bundanon. The funding will enable the museum to maintain and protect the treasured Boyd collection for the enjoyment and education of future generations.”

The additions to the Bundanon site aim to deal with the effects of climate change, with the bridge and art museum built to fire and flood resistant regulations with a net zero energy target. The Bridge, powered entirely by solar panels, is treated like a piece of flood infrastructure with the architecture supporting the natural system of water flow across the site. The bridge also features a number of sustainable measures, including passive temperature management, black water treatment, harvesting and storing of rainwater, local materials throughout and a reduced reliance on fossil fuel sources.

The Art Museum and Collection Store are subterranean, with precious artworks housed and exhibited in an underground building that protects the works from diverse climate conditions and offers thermal stability in the form of the reinstated hill.

Bundanon CEO, Rachel Kent, says she looks forward to the ‘next chapter’ of Bundanon.

“This expansion will widen public access, deepen engagement in creativity and the landscape, and position Bundanon both nationally and internationally. I look forward to this new chapter in Bundanon’s history – building on its past achievements and opening its doors to new audiences and generations, going forwards,” she says.

Entry to Bundanon will be free on the opening weekend, with timed entry to maintain social distancing. Tickets can be booked online from Thursday 20 January. For more information, visit bundanon.com.au.