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  7. Green House / Sean Godsell Architects

Green House / Sean Godsell Architects

  • 18:00 - 18 May, 2015
Green House / Sean Godsell Architects

© Earl Carter © Earl Carter © Earl Carter © Earl Carter +32

  • Structural Engineer

    Perrett Simpson Stanton
  • Interior Designer

  • Environmental Consultant

    Filter ESD
  • Heritage Consultant

    Michael Taylor Architecture + Heritage
  • Cost Consultant

    Plan Cost Australia
  • Planning Consultant

    Meredith Withers
  • Building Contractor

    Sargant Constructions Pty Ltd
© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

From the architect. Alterations and additions to a small heritage listed timber cottage in inner suburban Melbourne. Planning and heritage requirements and construction costs fundamentally drove the outcome of this project. Our client came to us wanting a new house. For reasons only known and understood by the local authorities the existing cottage was deemed to be of some historical significance. We disagreed with that assessment but to no avail. It was a case of limp-wristed facadism by the authorities and heritage 'experts'. Instead of abandoning our client we agreed to start from scratch, keeping the front section of the cottage and reworking it and then building a discrete fully new section at the rear of the block. I saw the project in a different light and chose to re-visit some projects that had inspired me as a young architect - Kazuo Shinohara's 'House in White' and  'House in Hanayama No 3' and Tadao Ando's 'Row House in Sumiyoshi' or 'Azuma House' as it is sometimes known. The 'Row House in Sumiyoshi' is a work of genius and I have written elsewhere about that building describing it as 'a seminal work of the second half of the twentieth century'.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

In simple terms the cottage interior is remodelled to have a cathedral ceiling with a pair of timber posts supporting the ridge beam and two light cannons directing light to the centre of the single space formed by the demolition of an existing wall. A small courtyard bound by concrete walls separates the cottage from the small addition, evoking the 'Row House' in the process. To address issues of overshadowing and overlooking we kept the height of the addition low (3.0m overall) and to compensate for a lack of light we made the roof of the entire addition glass with an automated timber sunscreen. The sunscreen protects the occupant from summer sun but can be configured in a variety of ways to allow the ingress of winter sun. As the screen is operated from inside the appearance of the building changes. If the owner so desires they can use the roofscape as an additional outdoor living area.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter
Floor Plan
Floor Plan
© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter

We finished the design of this project at the same time that the RMIT design Hub was completed and it served as poignant reminder that the power of architecture is independent of scale.

© Earl Carter
© Earl Carter
Cite: "Green House / Sean Godsell Architects" 18 May 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


asjp. · May 19, 2015

The operable roof is very similar to his MPavilion design - Melbourne's own version of the Serpentine Gallery - I like!

Santa · May 19, 2015

it stunning idea, simply ingenious !!! i like it so much i would like to have one. but, i have impression this one is suitable only for places with extremely low precipitation. reason is noise (rain dabbing and hail hitting could be a problem) and i can't see any roof drainage, while sealing between roof-plates could be weakened with constant opening and closing. maybe not for places with high precipitation without some modification in this regard ?

Josh Cooper · May 19, 2015

Agree with that, but would love a section. Pretty difficult to understand the project as a whole with the images given.

Croco Dile · May 19, 2015

A really good example of architecture based on logic.
Very nice ideas and good looking details.

On top of that - a description of the process that makes sense instead of poetic nonsense so many architects are writing.

Wonderful !


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© Earl Carter

墨尔本绿色住宅 / Sean Godsell Architects