Benmax has undertaken many projects within the National Gallery of Australia with the latest development, undertaken by Manteena, featuring a new entrance and foyer, gallery shop, function and event space, and 11 new Indigenous art galleries showcasing works from the world’s largest collection of Australian indigenous art.
To prevent damage to the works of art, the galleries’ air conditioning systems operate 24 hours per day to maintain stable temperature and humidity levels. To enhance the reliability of the air conditioning systems, four natural gas powered micro-turbines provide electrical power in the event of a mains power failure. The micro-turbine exhaust heat is captured to provide building heating hot water and also chilled water, by using the hot water as an input to an absorption chiller.
Of particular interest is the dedicated gallery for The Aboriginal Memorial 1988, one of the most important works of art in the national collection. It comprises 200 traditional hollow log coffins, and, to prevent damage to the wood, requires extremely stable temperature and humidity conditions. To stabilise conditions, four independent layers of air conditioning are provided around the art work with the air around the poles supplied via a displacement air system injecting air uniformly through pebbles at the base of the poles.