National Gallery of Australia

Project Features

  • Tri-generation plant
  • Total temperature and humidity control
  • Micro-turbine electrical power supply
  • 24 hours seven days per week operation
  • High level finishes
  • 11 x new gallery spaces
  • Formal entrance and foyer
  • Function and event spaces
  • Gallery shop
  • Visitor facilities
Year Completed

Project Details

New galleries showcase world’s largest collection of Australian Indigenous art.

Benmax has a longstanding relationship with the National Gallery of Australia located in Parkes, Canberra, having completed several projects at the site over many years. Home to the most valuable collection of art in Australia, the National Gallery is an iconic building situated on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and its collection comprises over 155,000 works of art, including the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

One of the larger projects delivered by Benmax, in partnership with builder Manteena, was in 2011 and featured a new entrance and foyer, gallery shop, new function and event space, and 11 new 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, seven days a week to maintain stable temperature and humidity levels within the building and gallery spaces.

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 on this project was the dedicated gallery for The Aboriginal Memorial 1988. This is one of the most important works of art in the national collection. It comprises 200 traditional hollow log coffins. To prevent damage to the wood it requires extremely stable temperature and humidity conditions. To stabilise conditions, four independent layers of air conditioning are provided around the artwork, with the air around the poles supplied via a displacement air system injecting air uniformly through pebbles at the base of the poles.


2011 Master Builders ACT Building Excellence Awards

  • Winner – Overall Project of the Year (Manteena)
  • Winner – Commercial Building More than $20 million (Manteena)
Multiple complex upgrade and refurbishment projects completed within iconic heritage listed gallery building.

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We design, build and maintain specialised mechanical systems for commercial and industrial facilities to provide healthy, safe and efficient indoor environments for people to live, work and play. We’ve spent three decades building our reputation. We’ve done that by doing a good job, and getting another job.

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