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Harry Seidler

Harry Seidler, AC OBE (25 June 1923 Vienna — 9 March 2006 Sydney) was an Austrian-born Australian architect who is considered to be one of the leading exponents of Modernism’s methodology in Australia and the first architect to fully express the principles of the Bauhaus in Australia.

Harry Seidler designed more than 180 buildings and he received much recognition for his contribution to Architecture of Australia. Some of his comments and building designs have stirred significant controversy.

Seidler was born into a Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. He fled as a teenager to England when Nazi Germany occupied Austria in 1938. Seidler’s diary entry from 4 October 1941 described his escape from London during World War II and his move to Canada as the best day in his life.

In England, he studied building and construction at Cambridge Technical College. In May 1940, he was interned by the British authorities as an enemy alien, before being shipped to Quebec, Canada and continued to be interned until October 1941, when he was released on parole to study architecture at the University of Manitoba.

Although he was ten years old when the Bauhaus was closed, Seidler’s analysts invariably associate him with the Bauhaus because he later studied under emigre Bauhaus teachers in the USA. He attended Harvard Graduate School of Design under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer on a scholarship in 1945-46, during which time he did vacation work with Alvar Aalto in Boston drawing up plans for the Baker dormitory at MIT. He then attended Black Mountain College under the painter Josef Albers, and then worked for Marcel Breuer in New York. Seidler also worked in the studio of the architect Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro.

Other Information

  • Name : Harry Seidler, AC OBE
  • Nationality : Australian
  • Birth date : June 25, 1923
  • Birth place : Vienna, Austria
  • Education :
    • Cambridge Technical College
    • University of Manitoba
    • Harvard Graduate School of Design
    • Black Mountain College
  • Founding member : Australian Architecture Association

Notable Projects

  • 1948-50: Rose Seidler House, Wahroonga (Sydney), Australia
  • 1949-51: Marcus Seidler House, Turramurra (Sydney), Australia
  • 1950: Meller House, Castlecrag (Sydney), Australia
  • 1952: Hutter House, Turramurra (Sydney), Australia
  • 1952-53: Williamson House, (also known as Igloo House), Mosman (Sydney), Australia
  • 1959: Canberra South Bowling Club, Griffith (Canberra), Australia
  • 1960: Ithaca Gardens, Elizabeth Bay (Sydney), Australia
  • 1961: Grimson & Rose Exhibition House, Pennant Hills (Sydney), Australia
  • 1961: Blues Point Tower, McMahons Point (Sydney), Australia
  • 1961: Wood House, Penrith (Sydney), Australia
  • 1961-67: Australia Square Tower, Sydney, Australia
  • 1962: Ski Lodge, Thredbo, Australia
  • 1963: Muller House, Port Hacking (Sydney), Australia
  • 1963-65: Rushcutters Bay Apartments, Rushcutters Bay (Sydney), Australia
  • 1964-67: NSW Housing Commission Apartments, Roseberry (Sydney), Australia
  • 1964-68: Garran Group Housing, Canberra, Australia
  • 1965-66: Arlington Apartments, Edgecliff (Sydney), Australia
  • 1966-67: Harry and Penelope Seidler House, Killara (Sydney), Australia
  • 1969-70: Condominium Apartments, Acapulco, Mexico
  • 1970-74: Edmund Barton Building (formerly Trade Group Offices), Canberra, Australia
  • 1971-72: Gissing House, Wahroonga (Sydney), Australia
  • 1972-75: MLC Centre, Sydney, Australia
  • 1973-77: Embassy of Australia in Paris, France
  • 1973-94: Harry Seidler Offices and Apartments, Milsons Point (Sydney), Australia
  • 1978-80: Karalyka Centre (formerly Ringwood Cultural Centre) (many non-Seidler alterations), Ringwood (Melbourne), Australia
  • 1979-82: Hillside Housing, Kooralbyn (Gold Coast), Australia
  • 1980-84: Hong Kong Club Building, Hong Kong Central
  • 1981-83: Merson House, Palm Beach (Sydney), Australia
  • 1982-84: Monash City Council (formerly Waverley Civic Centre), Glen Waverley (Melbourne), Australia
  • 1982-88: Grosvenor Place, Sydney, Australia
  • 1983-84: Hannes House, Cammeray (Sydney), Australia
  • 1983-86: Riverside Centre, Brisbane, Australia
  • 1984-89: Castlereagh Centre (formerly Capita Centre), Sydney, Australia
  • 1985: Garden Island Dockyard Workshop, Garden Island (Sydney), Australia
  • 1985-89: 1 Spring Street (formerly Shell House), Melbourne, Australia
  • 1987-91: QV1, Perth, Australia
  • 1989-91: Hamilton House, Vaucluse (Sydney), Australia
  • 1990: Monash Gallery of Art (with non-Seidler additions), Wheelers Hill (Melbourne), Australia
  • 1990-98: Horizon Apartments, Darlinghurst (Sydney), Australia
  • 1993-98: Wohnpark Neue Donau, Vienna, Austria
  • 1994-95: Meares House, Birchgrove (Sydney), Australia
  • 1995-96: Gilhotra House, Hunters Hill (Sydney), Australia
  • 1996-98: Elizabeth Street Offices, Surry Hills (Sydney), Australia
  • 1996-99: Berman House, Joadja, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1996-02: Hochhaus Neue Donau, Vienna, Austria
  • 1999: Cove Apartments, Sydney, Australia
  • 1999-05: Riparian Plaza, Brisbane, Australia
  • 1999-00: ARCA Showroom, Perth, Australia
  • 2001-06: Meriton Tower, Sydney, Australia
  • 2003: North Apartments, Sydney, Australia
  • 2001-07: Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, (formerly "Ultimo Aquatic Centre")Sydney, Australia

Awards and Recognitions

  • 1951, 1967, 1981, 1983, 1991 Sir John Sulman Medal
  • 1965, 1966, 1967 Wilkinson Award
  • 1966 Honorary Fellowship, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • 1967 Civic Design Award
  • 1968 Pan Pacific Citation, American Institute of Architects (AIA)
  • 1976, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 2001 various honours of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA)
  • 1984 Member of the Academie d’Architecture, Paris
  • 1984 Honorary Member of the Society of Graphic Artists of Austria (Kunstlerhaus)
  • 1985 Honorarary Citizenship of Austria
  • 1987 Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) (Australia’s highest honour)
  • 1990 Gold Medal City of Vienna
  • 1992 Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • 1996 Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • 1996 Austrian Badge of Honour for Science and Art
  • 2002 Golden Badge of Honour for Merits for Vienna
  • 2004 Honour for International Highrises of the city of Frankfurt for "Cove Apartments" in Sydney


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  • Williamson House (also known as Igloo House) Mosman (Sydney) Australia
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  • 1964–68: Garran Group Housing Canberra Australia

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