The Bundanon Trust says the masterplan for its $28.5 million expansion at Arthur Boyd’s Riversdale property is inspired by trestle flood bridges unique to the Australian countryside.
Renders of the proposal depict an elegant 140-metre long, nine-metre wide linear structure floating across a gully and ending in the gallery, which is partially buried in the landscape. Supporting it are trestles that resemble those of country bridges.
The design was created by Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA), following their unanimous appointment in November 2016 from a shortlist of six Australian architecture firms.
It includes a world-class creative learning centre for school students, a contemporary visitor hub, accommodation and a partially buried 380 square metre light-filled contemporary art gallery to house the $37.5 million Arthur Boyd art collection.
For Bundanon chief executive officer Deborah Ely, the reveal of the masterplan is a significant step towards realising a long-held dream to expand the world-renowned Riversdale estate, which has been in public ownership since 1993, when it was given to the Australian people by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd.
“We’re trying to fulfil Arthur Boyd’s original wish, which is to have a gallery here at Bundanon, and that’s going to be at the far end, right near the original house,” she said.
“Secondly, we’re building a really major extension to our creative learning facilities here at Riversdale.
“We’re going to be building some bedrooms and some learning spaces for children and students so they can come here and be in residence.”
According to architect Kerstin Thompson, “The design concept both preserves and transforms, is equal parts subtle and dramatic.”
The new bridge structure lands near the existing cluster of 19th century buildings on a level public plaza offering an arrival hall, cafe and visitor services.
The decision to effectively bury the new gallery into the landscape is rooted in practicality.
“It will give us amazing environmental protection, cooling the collection – keeping its temperature stable – but also protection against fire,” Ms Ely said.
The gallery will house some 3800 items and feature 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 Bundanon Trust’s artist-in-residence program.
Funding for the project is being sought from the federal and state governments.