In its purest form, architecture was derived from a necessity for shelter. 

At its core, architecture should be accessible to everyone as everyone has a right to shelter. However, this is not always the case.

Architecture is often reserved only for the wealthy, and architects are often unwilling to work on projects that may result in something unremarkable aesthetically… but perhaps remarkable with regard to cost and social impact.

This fundamental of architecture was explored by Sean Godsell in his ‘Shelter Series’ where he made clever and thoughtful adjustments to traditionally hostile pieces of public infrastructure, for example, a park bench. 

A park bench is designed with arms on the end to make it uncomfortable for it to be slept on, in Godsell’s iteration he designed an adjustable bench that opens up to create a roof and shelter. 

Similarly, Joost Bakker and a team at CSIRO took it upon themselves, after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, to design a ‘fireproof house’. The prototype of this house is now built and standing in Kinglake. The intention is, that the design of this house will become open source and be available free of charge for whoever needs it, shelter. 

It is a tricky balancing act for practices to support their business whilst also treating architecture as a means way give back to the community. Nonetheless, through these projects, Godsell and Bakker send a strong message about architecture and its potential for social impact. 

Are you working on any interesting projects that promote social change?