Born in 1953 in Sydney, Richard Goodwin is a contemporary artist whose career borders on architecture, urban design, performance, installation and public art. Goodwin grew up in Beecroft, at that time a suburban bushland, from where he attended Epping Boys High School. Motives for pursuing architectural studies were established when Goodwin attended a career seminar by Harry Seidler, who inspired the young school leaver to begin his bachelor's degree in architecture at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1972.
Goodwin completed his Bachelor of Sciences (Architecture) in 1975 and travelled to London to work for Gershin Rothenburg & Associates. During his trip, he met students from the Architecture Association studying under Peter Cook of Archigram. They were merging performance and installation art into their architectural study, inspired by Arte Povera, Fluxus and Conceptualism. At Queens Park, Highgate, Goodwin completed his first performance work, Birth Ritual (1975), which led to his first clothing sculpture, Doll (1975).
Upon returning to Sydney in 1976 to complete his Bachelor of Architecture at the UNSW, Goodwin continued to pursue performance and sculpture.
Throughout the 1980s Goodwin continued to examine the idea of 'exoskeletons', how structures amplify the capacity of the human/artist to interact with a space. Goodwin's first public art work was Mobius Sea (1986), a complex sculpture in its references to a baroque 'last judgement', the fossilized clothing of Goodwin's earlier works, and the turrets of the Conservatorium of Music nearby. Goodwin's public art is best known through his numerous collaborations with the New South Wales Roads Traffic Authority, including the design and construction of sound attenuation walls along the Gore Hill Freeway (1992) and elsewhere, pylons underneath Sydney Fish Markets (1993-96), and his Charles Street Bridge (1999) over the City West Link in Leichhardt. These often symbolic designs give drivers along the freeways a way of connecting with the culture of their surroundings rather than closing themselves up in their cars.
After receiving his Masters of Architecture from Royal Melbourne Institute of TAFE (1999) and continually giving guest lectures at Sydney universities, Goodwin was appointed Adjunct Professor at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), UNSW in 2008.