sean godsell architects: picnic table house
sean godsell architects: picnic table house sean godsell architects: picnic table house
jun 24, 2010

sean godsell architects: picnic table house

sean godsell architects: picnic table house

1:1 architects build small spaces exhibition victoria & albert museum, london on now until 30 august 2010




australian sean godsell architects were one of the nineteen firms to design a concept for the 1:1 architects build small spaces exhibition currently on display at the V & A, london.

the picnic table house is a picnic table during the day that converts into a homeless shelter at night. the table top folds down and is supported on the bench seats to make a roof. a woven stainless steel mattress and protective frame is supported between the legs of the table. survival kits, packed remotely by volunteer workers or emergency relief agencies can be locked into position under the bench seats either side of the mattress. the survival kits would contain separately food, bedding, hot drinks, a light and a first aid kid. once emptied a survival pack becomes secure stowage while sleeping. the picnic table house would be the next in a series of prototypes produced by my office. future shack is an emergency house made from recycled shipping containers, park bench house is a park bench during the day and a basic bed and shelter at night and bus shelter house is a bus shelter until public transport stops for the night. it converts into a bed and the advertising hoarding houses blankets and hot drinks, as well as being a mini display space for artists who are un-represented by a gallery.  the architects are currently working on the dignified rubbish bin which is a bin that has a food container that allows restaurants to package and distribute leftover food to the homeless.



model of  ‘picnic table house’



model of  ‘picnic table house’


drawing of  ‘picnic table house’



how the design converts from a picnic table to a house/shelter





being used as a picnic table



when the design is a house



the survival kit

  • This actually goes against conventional design of public space. Public benches for example are purposely designed to discourage homeless people sleeping on them (look for unnecessary arm rails next time you see a bench).

    Would you want to eat on a table that smelled like a homeless person? Are you going to ask the homeless person to move once you want to picnic? Homeless people are territorial, a habitat as nice as that would be guarded carefully. They’d set up camp with their few possessions and never leave. It appears very little research was done for this project.

    Organized homeless shelters are the safest place for homeless people. They can receive direct aid and nurturing. Not some random picnic table, that will just become a public area people will want to avoid.

    hober says:
  • terrible design

    mallow82 says:
  • While this is an interesting concept, actual use of the house by a homeless person would be pretty psychologically degrading. Sleeping under the table just reinforces the notion that the homeless are just feeding off the scraps of society like a dog under the dinner table.

    They really need a stable place to stay while they rebuild they lives and self-confidence.

    Gunnar says:
  • Good comments … this project want to help people but finally it’s the opposite. It’s unfortunate …

    Bull says:
  • this is not only nonsensical but disgusting

    ryan says:
  • transformer picnic table lol

    Jae Xavier - says:
  • yeh, way off the mark. Did the lecturer actually…… hold on. This was designed by an architectural firm…. wow. No need for any research then?

    karl says:
  • Totally agree with Gunnar.

    Dr. Design says:
  • “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”.

    oh dear.

    AAB says:
  • well intentioned, yet a major contradiction, clearly not built or tested after the model. the criticisms above are unfortunate for our aussie architect expert with the lattice skinned operable box homes for the well established.

    simonalex mpathé says:
  • is this the best idea one can offer a homeless individual, to sleep under a table at night. iam sure a creative and more humane concept can be achieve, but the initiative is good.

    erd says:
  • I agree with Huber and Gunter. For the homeless, this is less than perfect way to deal with the problem. However, if we were to think of this in a different way: as a means of achieving two ends. For people that tramp/hike in bush and mountainous terrain, the idea of having a table that enables one to enjoy the surroundings, while at the same time offering shelter when caught out in quickly changing weather patterns, I think would have real benefits. The table would have to be suitably modified to resist the elements, but could be achieved. With the tables locatable on GPS, would enable a cheaper alternative to more huts on various tracks. They would be able to be helicoptered onto site. They would also have to be designed to enable at least two folks to shelter. With communication devices in them, it would be readily accessible to emergency services to pick up those in need d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • while so many people post the negative comments, the homeless are laying in parks, wet and freezing cold, starving while waiting for the next meal. at least sean is one person trying to ‘change the way the homeless live’.

    MB says:

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