Bundanon Trust have revealed the Masterplan design for Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property in regional New South Wales created by Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA), following their appointment in November 2016 from a shortlist of six Australian architecture firms.
The Masterplan design of Riverside situated on the 1100-hectare property gifted to the Australian people by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd in 1993, includes a creative learning centre for school students, a contemporary visitor hub, accommodation and a 380m2 light-filled contemporary art gallery – partially buried into the landscape – that will house the Trust’s $37.5 million Arthur Boyd art collection.
Prioritising the existing landscape and its ecology, and responding to the current and future climatic conditions of the site, the design draws on the distinctive Australian native bush land and rural Australia’s flood ‘trestle’ bridges as points of inspiration. The new facilities are housed within a new 140-metre-long by 9-metre-wide structure that at one end abuts the art gallery within the sloping hillside, continuing along to bridge an existing gully.
The new KTA designed facilities are intended to reinforce the existing cluster of buildings as the heart of the Riversdale experience. Architect Kerstin Thompson explains, “The design concept both preserves and transforms, is equal parts subtle and dramatic. Renown aspects of the current setting are maintained and their presence enhanced with an array of new and compelling visitor experiences.” It integrates architecture and landscape within the broader continuum of the site’s ecology and environmental systems.
The new bridge structure lands near the existing cluster of nineteenth century buildings on a level public plaza offering an arrival hall, café and visitor services. The covered extension to the bridge leads to the subterranean contemporary art gallery opening into the hill behind. Through roof highlights it captures glimpses of the prevailing landscapes contrasts – between the dark forest and clearings – so that visitors can enjoy the artist’s imaginary Shoalhaven landscapes alongside the actual one surrounding them.
Central to the Masterplan design, the new subterranean contemporary art gallery will house over 3,800 items featuring more than 1300 artworks by Arthur Boyd plus works by leading Australian artists including Boyd peers Sidney Nolan, Charles Blackman, Brett Whiteley and John Perceval, as well as contemporary works drawn from participants in the Trust’s artist in residence program.
The design incorporates a new creative art facility housing 32 new bedrooms and accompanying bathrooms, teaching spaces, dining and visitor facilities on top of rolling hills and a deep gully. It also envisages the amplification of the existing cluster of buildings, including the original houses, art studio and the contemporary Boyd Education Centre designed by acclaimed Australian architects Glenn Murcutt, Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark, which remain at the heart of the experience of the site. The existing and new buildings are united by a common forecourt that is the culmination of the stepped arrival terraces, which also make fully accessible the site’s considerable level changes.
The estimated cost for the Riverside project is $28.5 million with funding currently being sought from the Commonwealth and State Governments. The development is anticipated to lead to substantial regional economic benefits including $51 million of spending and 142 jobs during the construction phase, with an additional $10.4 million and 59 jobs to flow into the economy once the site is complete.