Project Feature

Exploring the Symbiosis Between Humanity and Technology - House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects

Mornington Peninsula, VIC, Australia

Sophie Sisko

House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects serves as a reminder that technology works for us and not the other way around.

Advances in modern technology have assisted humans to reach new incredible heights, but they also factor into many of the recently developed issues we are dealing with as a society. We are in a position of luxury when groceries can be ordered online and languages can be translated at our finger tips, but when does this begin to impact our human interactions and how do we stay in control of the technology? These questions will long be at the forefront of our progression, and it is innovators such as Sean Godsell Architects designing projects like House on the Coast that encourage us by successfully appropriating the symbiosis between humanity and technology.

“The complexity of this house lies in the dichotomy of aspiring to a technologically sophisticated building and the equally compelling desire for respite.” – Sean Godsell

House on the Coast is a paradox; its functions are based on human’s growing reliance on technology, while its location and relationship to the environment speaks to a simpler pace and lifestyle. The technological capabilities of the home are enclosed in a minimal and unassuming façade, and its complexity is complimented by the calm of the surrounding nature. While these aspects work seamlessly together, they also simultaneously walk the line between the contrasting ideas and values we face daily in this rapidly evolving world.

The House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects successfully appropriates the symbiosis between humanity and technology.

Amongst the steep sand dunes of the Victorian (Mornington Peninsula) coastline, where wild terrain demands robustness and durability from all who reside. The L-shaped plan of House on the Coast sits nestled into the wind curled shrubbery as if it has always been.

House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects is a paradox; its functions are based on human’s growing reliance on technology, while its location and relationship to the environment speaks to a simpler pace and lifestyle.

Sean Godsell describes the relationship between the timber cladding to its environment by saying, “In time the building’s shade-skin will weather to match the grey of the surrounding coastal tea-tree as Nature begins to take back what was taken from her.” Sean Godsell Architects use design principles pioneered by Le Corbusier in his Zurich Pavilion to inspire the “shade skin” that acts as a passive protection to the home from the harsh Australian sun.

“Today, paradoxically, the smart phone increases connectivity and decreases it. I'm interested in how this social force might inform the design of a single family dwelling.” – Sean Godsell

As well as being a home, House on the Coast is a device. It can be remotely controlled by its occupants to enhance their comfort and living experience from their smartphone. The remotely operated systems include: heating, garden irrigation, façade operation, swimming pool heating, security, lighting, entertainment and solar battery power collection.

Godsell states, “I’ve often thought that ‘smart’ phone is oxymoronic however its influence on society is irreversible and as architects we are charged with the responsibility to closely observe society and interpret (in built form) the physical and psychological needs of the community.” By closely observing the patterns and demands of his clients and society as a whole, Sean Godsell Architects have remastered the prevalent and sometimes controversial relationship between human and smartphone.

The L-shaped plan of House on the Coast sits nestled into the wind curled shrubbery as if it has always been.

From the outside in, House on the Coast is designed to harmoniously connect its inhabitants with their home, and in turn connecting with the surrounding natural environment in a sustainable manner. Engaging with the home to improve its performance creates a better understanding of the processes in place that make an ideal living experience.

House on the Coast is fitted with systems to collect and store solar energy and rain water to increase its independence from mainline services. The fully operable outer “skin” of the home shades the internal spaces ensuring that temperature regulation is optimized for its occupants without requiring air-conditioning. Internal finishes are raw and minimal to maintain a relationship with the exterior throughout the entirety of the home. Breath-taking views of the adjoining national park and the ocean beyond are framed by the cantilevered section of the structure, giving a sense of the magnitude and power held within the landscape.

“I’ve often thought that ‘smart’ phone is oxymoronic however its influence on society is irreversible”.

“The smart phone mediates this complex relationship between owner and house and the house becomes more device-like as a result. I’m uncertain as to whether the benefits of this enhanced capacity to nuance outweigh the additional burden that new technology inevitably seems to bring.”

It is likely that this balancing act between plugging in and switching off will be an ongoing effort as we move into the future and define the role technology plays in our lives, but the more we can learn from projects like House on the Coast we will continue to be reminded that technology works for us and not the other way around.

From the outside in, House on the Coast is designed to harmoniously connect its inhabitants with their home.

“The smart phone mediates this complex relationship between owner and house and the house becomes more device-like as a result”.

Projects like House on the Coast by Sean Godsell Architects we will continue to be reminded that technology works for us and not the other way around.

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