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Brave new world

Brave new world

Adaptation has become a familiar lexicon for many as the global pandemic forces innovation and change. But these art galleries and institutions have forged ahead with singular conviction.

Bundanon Art Museum

Fusing landscape and art, the highly anticipated Bundanon Art Museum officially opened in early 2022. Designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, the new art museum incorporates a gallery, accommodation for 64 guests and a café.

Dubbed the ‘Bridge’, the 160-metre-long and nine-metre-wide structure spans the gully of the historic site on the New South Wales South Coast, which was gifted to Australia by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd in 1993.

The project houses a collection of artworks in a subterranean space, protecting them from the increasing risks of climate change and extreme weather like bushfires and floods. “The design is driven by Bundanon’s main BUNDANON ART MUSEUM imperative, as established by the Boyd family, to foster an appreciation for and understanding of landscape and art. 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,” says Kerstin Thompson, director, Kerstin Thompson Architects.

Ravenscar House

Seeing opportunity where many would see loss, Susan and the late Jim Wakefield decided to design and build Ravenscar House – a public art gallery to house their private art collection – after their home was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

The couple had originally planned to gift their old home in Scarborough along with its extensive collection of paintings, antiquities and furniture from iconic New Zealand artists to the people of Christchurch.

The new site is in the centre of the city, which was established in partnership with Canterbury Museum, which now operates the newly established house museum.

Officially opened in late 2021, Ravenscar House was designed by Auckland-based architecture practice Patterson Associates. The building’s form is striking, with precast concrete panels on the façade, speckled with crushed earthquake rubble.

LON Gallery

The director of Melbourne’s LON Gallery, Adam Stone, changed gears in response to ongoing lockdowns. “As with most galleries, our program had to be largely adapted from our physical space to online. I was aware of the inadequacies of this transition, so was mindful to present complementary features, such as exhibition walk-through videos, online discussions, studio visits and interviews alongside our monthly exhibitions,” he says.

Even though the doors to the gallery were closed, Stone found ways to showcase the intention behind each of the exhibitions, ensuring what was communicated in the virtual was also reflected through installed work.

“Every exhibition that we presented online was also hung in the gallery’s physical space. For us, the installation images illustrate the interplay between artworks, providing context and an essential insight into the artist’s vision”.

Project details


Ravenscar House

LON Gallery

Photography – Various

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Aleesha Callahan is the editor of Habitus. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Aleesha seeks out the unique people, projects and products that define the Indo Pacific region. Aleesha was previously the editor of Indesignlive.com and has written and contributed to various publications and brands in her 10 years in the architecture and design industry, bringing intimate insight to her stories having first trained and practised as an interior designer. Her passion for mid-century design and architecture began while living and working in Berlin.