SYDNEY, Jan 27 — Many museum institutions are still grappling with the question of what role they should play in addressing the climate crisis. But that’s not the case for the new Bundanon Art Museum in New South Wales, Australia. It was built to respond and adapt to the current and future climate disasters facing the country.

This 500-square-meter art museum is located within Bundanon, a 1,000-acre property that philanthropists Arthur and Yvonne Boyd designed as an art destination. The architectural firm of Kerstin Thompson built the museum into a hillside to protect it from potential wildfires. 

Art lovers will be able to discover a collection of 4,000 contemporary artworks, estimated at US$46.5 million (RM195 million). Some of the works will be on display from January 29 in the exhibition “From impulse to action,” which coincides with the opening of the museum. It includes drawings by Arthur Boyd and new pieces created by Australian artists specifically for the exhibition. 

Bundanon is also home to a new structure known as the Bridge for Creative Learning. This bridge is over 160 meters long and borders the art museum. It houses a creative learning center, a restaurant and even guest rooms that can accommodate 64 overnight guests. The structure is solar powered and was built to preserve the site’s natural drainage system. 



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Rethinking how museums operate

For Rachel Kent, CEO of Bundanon, it is essential that museums increasingly rethink their operations in order to reduce their environmental impact. 

“Art museums have historically run with high energy consumption,” she explained to Architectural Digest. “Both cooling and heating systems are needed, for example, to maintain a stable temperature critical to the conservation of artworks. With the current climate crisis, this is clearly unsustainable. It is vital that museums and galleries, like other industry sectors, actively seek solutions that aim to have a net-zero energy target.”

Other museums around the world are following Bundanon’s lead to become more sustainable. In December the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada became the first museum institution to hire a curator dedicated exclusively to environmental issues. In London, the Horninmam has committed to combating the effects of climate change by installing LED lighting in its aquarium tanks. This measure has allowed the British institution to save more than 11,000 kWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of boiling 100,000 kettles. — ETX Studio