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2018 National Architecture Awards: The Robin Boyd Award for Residential Architecture – Houses (New)

House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects. Residential Architecture – Houses (New): The Robin Boyd Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

As coastal towns begin to manifest the suburban model, the quality of the natural landscape is often compromised, along with views and sightlines. House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects acknowledges this changing condition and prioritizes the landscape by sinking the timber-battened building into the sloping terrain. Rather than opening the living spaces out to the views of cluttered hillsides populated by an increasing number of rooftops, the home strategically orientates itself into the landscaped hillside with only carefully choreographed openings to the ocean view. The sense of isolation and privacy that this creates is highly appropriate in its context as a holiday house, allowing its inhabitants a chance to detach and relax.

Entry to the house is via a protected courtyard with a fireplace – a transitional and multifunctional space that can be used all year round. The plan comprises a series of ordered, compact and robust spaces that would require minimum maintenance. Rooms are designed for a variety of configurations, with consciously flexible arrangements such as a custom- designed kitchen bench that extends out to form a long dining table and a large bedroom with a retractable wall. Despite the raw and robust materiality of the house, there is a warmth and subtlety within these interior spaces.

This house continues an exploration of refinement and reduction by Sean Godsell. The singular form and intense detailing create an exquisitely neutral living platform from which to engage with the beautiful coastal landscape.


Sean Godsell Architects
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Project Team
Sean Godsell (director), Hayley Franklin (project architect)
Builder Kane Constructions
Building surveyor Wilsmore Nelson
Bushfire consultant Terramatrix
ESD consultant Greensphere
Engineer Keith Long and Associates
Landscape consultant Sam Cox
Quantity surveyor Plan Cost Australia
Site details
Site type Coastal
Category Residential buildings
Type Houses, Residential
Project Details
Status Built
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