The Museum of Glass is a new unique cultural building that takes you on a journey of glass art creation and explores Brisbane’s architectural history. Although the building is not located in Southbank, it is linked to the cultural centre precinct through the new Neville Bonner bridge, currently under construction – allowing the two river banks to be within walking distance. Through this direct link and the long views established from the site, the cultural centre is able to spread into the Brisbane CBD.
The Museum of Glass is grounded in precedents – referencing both brutalist architecture of the 1980s and more distant history of the late 19th to early 20th century. The materiality of the museum has been inspired by the use of concrete in Brisbane’s cultural centre – the Queensland Museum, Queensland Art Gallery and QPAC, creating a visual continuation of the precinct and celebrating Brisbane’s rich brutalist architecture history.
The brutalist lower levels, house the glass blowing workshops where visitors can view glass artists creating their sculptures or participate in beginner classes. If they wish, visitors may also deposit glass bottles, which are then sorted in-house and taken directly to the artists to be remade into artwork. Following the workshops, the visitors tour around the exhibition spaces, seeing the newly created glass art on display.
The main exhibit is the glass pavilion which is a permanent display of etched glass. Architecturally, the glass pavilion is an adaptive, climatically responsive facade, which is able to expand and contract through a system of sensors, whilst also being an exhibit. Select glass panels are etched with the historic images from Brisbane’s collection of glass plate negatives from the late 19th century. The etched images are projected onto the core as the sub rotates around the pavilion, creating an ever-changing exhibition that is different each time you visit, depending on time of day and time of year.