Sean Godsell was born in Melbourne in 1960. He graduated with First Class Honours from The University of Melbourne in 1984. He spent much of 1985 travelling in Japan and Europe and worked in London from 1986 to 1988 for Sir Denys Lasdun. In 1989 he returned to Melbourne and worked for The Hassell Group. In 1994 he formed Godsell Associates Pty Ltd Architects.
He obtained a Masters of Architecture degree from RMIT University in 1999 entitled ‘The Appropriateness of the Contemporary Australian Dwelling.’ His work has been published in the world’s leading Architectural journals including Architectural Review (UK) Architectural Record (USA) Domus (Italy) A+U (Japan) Casabella (Italy) GA Houses (Japan) Detail (Germany) Le Moniteur (France) and Architect (Portugal).
In July 2002 the influential English design magazine wallpaper listed him as one of ten people destined to ‘change the way we live’. He was the only Australian and the only Architect in the group.
He has lectured in the USA, UK, China, Japan,
India, France and New Zealand as well as across Australia. He was a keynote speaker at the Alvar Aalto symposium in Finland in July 2006.
In July 2003 he received a Citation from the President of the American Institute of Architects for his work for the homeless. His Future Shack prototype was exhibited from May to October 2004 at the Smithsonian Institute’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York. In the same year the Italian publisher Electa published the monograph Sean Godsell: Works and Projects. Time Magazine named him in the ‘Who’s Who -The New Contemporaries’ section of their 2005 Style and Design supplement. He was the only Australian and the only Architect in the group of seven eminent designers.
He has received numerous local and international awards. In 2006 he received the Victorian Premier’s Design Award and the RAIA Robin Boyd Award and in 2007 he received the Cappochin residential architecture award in Italy and a Chicago Athenaeum award in the USA – all for St Andrew’s Beach House and in 2008 he was a finalist in the wallpaper International
Design Awards and a recipient of his second AIA Record Houses Award for Excellence in the USA for Glenburn House. In 2008 noted architectural historian and Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Kenneth Frampton nominated him for the inaugural BSI Swiss Architecture Award for architects under the age of 50 and his work was exhibited as part of the Milan Triennale and Venice Biennale in the same year. In 2010 the prototype of the RMIT design Hub façade was exhibited in Gallery MA in Tokyo before being transported in 2011 to its permanent home at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2012 he was shortlisted to design the new Australian Pavilion in Venice.
In January 2013 the Spanish publication El Croquis published the monograph Sean Godsell – Tough Subtlety which includes an essay by Juhani Pallasmaa and interview by Leon Van Schaik. In July 2013 he was visiting professor at the IUAV WAVE workshop in Venice and delivered the UNESCO chair open lecture in Mantova.