Bundanon Art Museum and Bridge

Illaroo, New South Wales

Tensile was engaged to design and construct the Webnet mesh safety barriers along the walkways and outdoor spaces of the Bundanon Art Museum at Illaroo in NSW.

Bundanon is a stunning architectural development. Housing numerous significant contemporary art collections, the museum is situated on a 1,100-hectare property near the Shoalhaven River that was gifted by artist Arthur Boyd in 1993.

The structure is part gallery, and part bridge. It’s built into the rolling hillside, with some subterranean spaces. The bridge section, which runs over the valley, has spaces for accommodation and events, and provides magnificent views of the landscape and river.

The design was partially inspired by Australia’s historic trestle bridges. Sustainability and flood and bushfire resilience have also been strongly embedded into the design.

Award-winning firm Kerstin Thompson Architecture were the architects for this project. Adco Construct were the builders, while the landscaping was designed by Wraight Associates.

Tensile’s role in the project

We used 80mm aperture Webnet made from 1.5mm wire along with 6mm stainless steel cable to make the barriers. The size of the Webnet, which was specified by the architects, ensures that all building code requirements are met.

Webnet mesh is an ideal choice of material for a project such as this. It complements the expressed structure of the building and provides safety without compromising the design.

The material’s near-transparency ensures that there is minimal disruption to the magnificent views. From a distance, the mesh becomes invisible, which allows the architecture to be the focus rather than the barrier.

At the same time, the barrier allows the visiting public to enjoy the gallery spaces and the surrounding landscape in complete safety!

Webnet is a highly practical choice of material for the project. It’s remarkably durable, lasting up to 25 years, and it comes with minimal requirements for maintenance. The combination of these factors ensures that ongoing costs for repairs, maintenance and replacement are reduced.

An award-winning project

The museum has already won numerous awards.

These include:

  • Zelman Cowen Award for Public Architecture – considered the highest honour in the public architecture category of the National Architecture awards.
  • Sulman Prize for Public Architecture – with the jury stating “Bundanon creates a new appreciation of the Boyd Estate, its history and setting by purposefully inhabiting this landscape of cultural and physical significance.”
  • National Award for Sustainable Architecture – the jury for this award stated: “Addressing the complex issues of a beautiful but delicate site along with its climate future is a true challenge. Kerstin Thompson Architects’ Bundanon finds its expression and elegance in adroitly addressing these many issues.”

So far, the museum has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors. We at Tensile feel honoured to have been a part of the team that created a project of such architectural and artistic significance!

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