Sean Godsell

Shack in the Rocks . Victoria

Sean Godsell . Shack in the Rocks . Victoria afasia (1)

Sean Godsell Architects . + archdaily

The site is in country Victoria approximately one hour’s drive west of Melbourne. A previous scheme for this site was shelved due to cost. In reappraising the problem we suggested to our client that they might consider a simple farm shed to provide rudimentary accommodation on a different part of the site from the previous scheme. They had already erected a large machinery shed with solar panels and rainwater collection tanks uphill from where we agreed a very simple adaptation of a hayshed might occur.


In our discussions we noted the primary requirement in rural and outback Australia for shelter – a roof parasol that provides some shade and protection from the rain as well as a place to enjoy outdoor activities – cooking, eating and engaging with and framing the spectacular landscape that exists on this particular site.

In the end we adapted a hayshed structure and modified it by including a translucent roofing material for light and adapting some industrial walkway grating to make a louvre for shade. Two translucent ‘sheds’ are positioned to the east end of a monolithic concrete plinth – one shed for cooking and eating and the other for sleeping and ablutions.

Two houses by Riken Yamamoto and Field Shop – Yamakawa Cottage (1976) and the Ishii house (1977) – disassemble conventional residential programmes and then reassemble them in a highly creative way. I remember being intrigued by these projects as a young architect. In the case of the Yamakawa Cottage the functional programme is distributed in an ordered and logical way across a single level timber platform.

This highly poetic scattering of spaces is controlled by a large shallow gable roof which shelters not only the rooms but the outdoor or ‘other’ space in the building. This ‘other’ space is intriguing to me and I certainly had the Yamakawa Cottage in mind when I designed this shack in the rocks.