Sean Godsell: Houses

Thames & Hudson. 2019. 252p. ISBN 9780500343524. $85. ARCH
Alongside Australian compatriot Glenn Murcutt, Godsell’s architecture blends Mies van der Rohe’s understated rationalism with motifs reflecting the local landscape and building vernacular. A stunning, lavishly produced catalog of residential designs, this volume is as clearly structured as the nine houses it documents. Goad’s (architecture, Univ. of Melbourne) adroit introductory biographical essay explores the corridor, verandah, and Japanese-Australian architectural interactions as archetypal themes, while Godsell’s own short essay stresses the centrality of the outback in his genus of regionalism. The catalog concludes with its most utopian content: adapted primal shelters demonstrating an interest in addressing homelessness, such as future shack, a steel shipping container converted into a basic yet elegant dwelling. Carter’s dramatic color photographs follow half-page, translucent-paper inserts with a description of each house by the architect, nominally helpful excerpts from construction documents, and preliminary sketches. Appendixes feature selected built works with thumbnail images; a signature with essential elevations, sections, and plans for each house; complete project credits; detailed biographical data (exhibitions, lectures, awards); and a bibliography.
VERDICT With no other title on the architect in print, this volume will inspire students appreciative of Godsell’s eclectic, cross-fertilized minimalism and is therefore essential for all collections that support design curricula.
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