Equal parts subtle and dramatic

Riversdale Reimagined

Image: KTA

A light-filled contemporary art gallery – partially buried in the landscape – sits at the heart of the new plan for Bundanon Trust’s Riversdale property, with a dramatic bridge structure landing onto an expansive public plaza near the existing nineteenth century buildings.

The Arthur Boyd Gallery

The Arthur Boyd Gallery: A counterpoint to the Bridge structure the Arthur Boyd Gallery is subterranean, buried within the reinstated hill. Here the drama will be in coexistence of the works of the gallery and framings of the site – sky above or forest edge. Visitors will be able to compare Boyd’s imaginary landscape with the actual one around them.

Full Funding Secured

“This funding will see Arthur and Yvonne Boyd's vision of a unique cultural asset for the nation further developed through the creation of a dedicated gallery showcasing and safeguarding the priceless Bundanon collection.”
- Minister Mitch Fifield

Senator Mitch Fifield, the Minister for the Arts, has announced a budget commitment of $22 million towards realising Bundanon Trust’s Masterplan to house and display its collection and expand its children’s education programs. This follows on from the announcement in 2018 by The Hon. Don Harwin, the NSW Minister for the Arts, of a foundational grant of $8.592 million from the NSW Government’s Regional Cultural Fund. Combined, these government funds will contribute to the $30.6 million required to complete the project.

Minister Fifield commented: “The Government recognises the importance of the Bundanon and Riversdale asset to the Shoalhaven region and this funding will not only create jobs during the construction phase of the project but will also expand the education experiences offered, which in turn will mean more visitors and more jobs in associated roles. We’re proud to help the Shoalhaven share their wonderful attractions with more visitors.”

The Design

Underpinning the design is an ecological approach
- Deborah Ely, CEO, Bundanon Trust

Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) have created a dynamic new plan for Arthur Boyd’s iconic Riversdale property in regional New South Wales.

The KTA design reinforces the existing cluster of buildings as the heart of the Riversdale experience. Included are a world-class creative learning centre for school students, a contemporary visitor hub, accommodation and a café.

Sensitively embracing the existing landscape and its ecology, the design responds to current and future climatic conditions with inspiration drawn from rural Australia’s trestle flood bridges. 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.

Architect Kerstin Thompson explains, “The design concept both preserves and transforms, is equal parts subtle and dramatic. Renowned aspects of the current setting are maintained and their presence enhanced with an array of new and compelling visitor experiences.”

The design for Riversdale will showcase the Trust’s $43 million collection of Boyd works.

All concept images supplied by KTA

​The Arrival Hall

The Arrival Hall: The concept both preserves and transforms, is equal parts subtle and dramatic. The Arrival Hall frames the culturally significant cluster of buildings from the time of the Boyds’ occupation including his studio and also key features of the landscape that inspired him like Arthur’s Hill.

Outdoor learning on terrace looking west

Outdoor learning on terrace looking west: The arrival terrace and forecourts create a series of event and learning spaces and make fully accessible the sloping site’s considerable level changes.

​Arrival Hall towards the Gallery Entry

Arrival Hall towards the Gallery Entry: The core visitor program is collocated adjacent to the historic Boyd cluster to achieve a centralised and single heart. New and existing buildings are united by a common forecourt. The Gallery and other more climatically sensitive program is subterranean: to maintain the setting of the Boyd Education Centre and to achieve passive thermal stability. By contrast the Bridge building is in the spirit of Plein Air – less climate control and more indoor/outdoor flow.

​Gully and Stepped arrival terraces

Gully and Stepped arrival terraces: Visitors arrive at the cultural heart of the Riversdale estate via the terraced forecourt. Beside this, below the belly of the bridge is an intriguing wet gully landscape for exploration and discovery.

​Breezeway in The Bridge

Breezeway in The Bridge: From within the Bridge forms a sheltering veranda dramatically suspended above the gully and encompassing views towards Arthur’s Hill. Between the interior spaces such as workshops and accommodation suites are outdoor but sheltered areas for an array of activities.

​The Bridge over the Gully

The Bridge over the Gully contains some of the visitor facilities including workshops and accommodation suites.Imagined as a piece of infrastructure the singularity of the bridge’s form serves as a datum to highlight the distinctive undulating topography of Shoalhaven. Recalling the trestle bridges endemic to flood landscapes such as this, the dramatic bridging structure straddles the gully from ridge to ridge, allows sporadic waters to flow beneath it and for the reinstatement of the wet gully ecology.

Further Information

Architecture Team

Project Information

Regional Economic Impact