Kerstin Thompson Architects’ (KTA) design for Arthur Boyd’s iconic Riversdale property has been revealed.

KTA was selected for the project in November from a shortlist of six Australian architecture firms. The recently unveiled Bundanon Trust Masterplan design will transform the 1,100-hectare property in regional New South Wales – previously the home of Australian artist Arthur Boyd and his wife, Yvonne – with a world-class creative learning centre, visitor hub and accommodation. As the centrepiece of the transformation, KTA have designed a new art gallery to house the $37.5-million Arthur Boyd art collection.

KTA’s design looks to the iconic Australian bushland and rural Australia’s flood ‘trestle’ bridges as points of inspiration. The new facilities all sit within a recently constructed 140-metre by nine-metre structure. This lean, linear form abuts the art gallery within the sloping hillside at one end, and continues to form a bridge with an existing gully.

The site plan for the Bundanon Trust Masterplan

“Renowned aspects of the current setting are maintained and their presence enhanced with an array of new and compelling visitor experiences,” says Kerstin Thompson. “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 that has been designated as a public plaza, offering an arrival hall, cafe and visitor services. A covered extension of the bridge leads to a subterranean contemporary art gallery, which in turn opens into the hill behind.

A new bridge is part of KTA's design for the Riversdale property

Central to the Masterplan design is the new contemporary art gallery, which will house over 3,800 works of art, more than 1,300 of which are by Arthur Boyd. The remaining works will be those of other leading Australian artists, including Boyd’s peers Sidney Nolan, Charles Blackman, Brett Whiteley, and John Perceval. Part of the gallery will also be dedicated to displaying works from participants in the Trust’s artist-in-residence program.

At the centre of the transformation is a new art gallery to house the $37.5-million Arthur Boyd art collection 

The Kerstin Thompson design incorporates a new creative art facility containing 32 new bedrooms, teaching spaces, and dining and visitor facilities.

Importantly, the new Masterplan pays respect to the site’s existing structures and facilities; not just an addition to the site, KTA’s design serves to reinforced the significance of existing buildings. Bundanon’s original houses, art studio and the contemporary Boyd Education Centre – designed by architects Glenn Murcutt, Wendy Lewin and Reg Lark – remain at the heart of the site’s ‘experience’. A common forecourt has been specifically created to unite new buildings with existing forms.

An ecological approach underpins the entire Masterplan, with initiatives such as solar energy and waste-management systems newly integrated with the site’s function.

KTA beat a shortlist of six Australian architecture firms – which included Virginia Kerridge Architect, Room 11, Peter Elliot Architecture + Urban Design, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects and Chenchow Little Architects – for the Bundanon Trust redesign.

Images: supplied