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This Is What Australia's Huge New Bushland Art Gallery Will Look Like

Due to open in 2022 on the New South Wales South Coast, it will house more than $43 million worth of art.
By Sarah Ward
February 01, 2020
By Sarah Ward
February 01, 2020

During this summer's catastrophic bushfire season, flames encroached on Bundanon and Riversdale, the 1100-hectare properties that were gifted to the Australian public by by artist Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne Boyd back in 1993. Located in the Shoalhaven region on the New South Wales south coast, the heritage-listed sites were thankfully saved, as was the art collection within them — and now work is underway on their huge new bushland gallery.

While the new addition to Riversdale was first announced back in 2018, this week marked the start of construction, with the gallery due for completion by the end of 2021 in time for an early 2022 opening. Well aware of its location and the climate conditions it faces, it'll welcome a purpose-built, 380-square-metre 'environmentally prepared gallery-of-the-future' — which'll be designed to ramp up the site's fire defenses, complete with a safe storage facility.

With work underway — and new renders revealed, providing another glimpse of what the scenic spot will look like in two years — the Federal Government announced that it's also providing additional funding to help improve the properties' resilience. Specifically, it has earmarked $300,000 for the installation of an ember suppression system to protect the location's significant heritage-listed buildings. They include the Arthur Boyd Homestead, studio, artists-in-residence and musician cottages, and the art collection store.

Costing $33 million in total, with $22 million supplied by the Australian Government and $8.6 million coming the NSW Government, the new site will house a huge art collection valued at $43 million. That hefty range spans around 4000 items, including more than 1300 works by Arthur Boyd himself. Pieces by Pablo Picasso, Francisco Goya and Brett Whiteley are also part of the collection — items that, at present, are on display in the existing Bundanon Homestead and in Arthur Boyd's studio,

When the Boyds gave the rural site to the Australian public back more than a quarter-century ago, Bundanon and Riversdale became a haven for creativity, arts and education, as well as remaining a working farm. That's all remaining the same — just with the new addition built into the hillside.

That said, although the new gallery is the main attraction — boasting windows that frame the artwork with glimpses of the natural splendour outside, it promises to provide quite the sight — that's not all that's being added to the property. Also under construction is a 140-metre-long by nine-metre-wide structure that'll branch out of the gallery, into a bridge spanning across the bushland and parkland, and across to 34 bedrooms, a teaching and dining space, and a public cafe. Stepped terraces, an openair arrival hall and an outdoor learning space are also planned.

The Bundanon Trust's new gallery is due to open in early 2022 in Illaroo, New South Wales. For further information, visit the Bundanon Trust website.

Images: Kerstin Thompson Architects.

Published on February 01, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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