Sunday, August 15, 2010

Riversdale, Shoalhaven River

The Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Art Centre is sited on the property Riversdale on the Shoalhaven River, downstream from Bundanon. It was built between 1996 and 1999, to a design by Glenn Murcutt. The property was bequeathed to the Australian nation by the Boyds for the development of an educational centre which is now focused around Murcutt's award winning building.

Murcutt has focused throughout his career on domestic architecture. Riversdale may represent his most significant public building but he has dealt with detail and scale with the same grace and intellectual curiosity that informs his domestic work. At no point do the volumes of the internal spaces overwhelm the human scale, instead providing a foil, a platform from which to view the dynamic landscape the building sits within.




Viewed externally, the building sits in an extraordinary moment of balance across the topography - neither pushing back into the contours, nor ignorant of the fall of the slopes. As with other Murcutt buildings, the built form has been pulled taunt - the connections between the building's parts as fragile and transparent as they are resilient and implicitly understood.

As you can see from some of the photos, Murcutt's considered use of natural light is present in this building and environs - mass and form seem to change and morph as the light shifts throughout the day. The landscape swells and broods and retreats as it rises and falls out of shadow and density, always bound by the light and mood of the skyscape as you look out from the building. A painterly response as any architect can ask of a building.

Glenn Murcutt: Thinking Drawing/Working Drawing
2008
Glenn Murcutt: University of Washington Master Studios and Lectures 2009

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