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Rose Seidler house

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After his release from internment during the war, Harry Seidler remained in North America and  developed his passion for architecture. He initially studied at the University of Manitoba, and later with world-renowned architect Walter Gropius at Harvard University. He went on to work with many high-profile and influential architects including Marcel Breuer and Oscar Niemeyer.

In 1947, Harry Seidler received an invitation from his parents to come to Australia and design them a home at Turramurra (now Wahroonga).

You can't have a better captive client than a mother. That house was built in 1948-1950, but it's still of our time. The interior is free-flowing space. It isn't boxes of rooms, other than bedrooms that can be closed off, of course. But the freedom inside makes a house look much bigger than it really is.

Completed in 1950, Rose Seidler House immediately created a sensation. The house featured glass walls, asymmetrical composition, cubic shapes and a flat roof; this was architecture unlike anything built in Australia before.

Rose Seidler House won the RAIA Sir John Sulman Medal for 1951, one of the most prestigious awards in Australian architecture and the first of five he won. Harry Seidler was 28 years old. Bringing international modernist ideas and methodology, he almost immediately influenced the shape of local architecture to come.

Afterwards, Seidler had numerous commissions to juggle. He established a successful private practice in Sydney in 1949. The firm, Harry Seidler and Associates, went on to design many award-winning residential and commercial buildings, including Australia Square and the MLC Centre in Sydney.

Houses of a style new to Australia are appearing on Sydney’s North Shore. One is at Turramurra in wild country …  The style is still novel in Europe and America, and the architect…Harry Seidler, believes that Australians will accept the new style now that they can see houses that have been built here.

(Cooper, Nora, “Sydney showpiece”, Australian Home Beautiful, Feb 1951)

Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
1948
Digital ID: 
a1347001
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347003
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347004
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347006
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347007
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347008
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347010
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Sir John Sulman Award 1951. [Rose] Seidler House at Turramurra. Harry Seidler architect, Nov. 1948
Digital ID: 
a1347011
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This story has been developed with the support of the State Library of NSW Foundation.

We would like to acknowledge the generosity of Penelope Seidler AM and the late Harry Seidler OBE.