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Harry Seidler and associates
Harry Seidler’s architectural practice - Harry Seidler and Associates - was thriving during the 1960s-1980s, when he began to take on more commercial and large-scale projects. His work was receiving critical acclaim and awards, and his public profile was high. He regularly featured in the local press and specialist architectural magazines of the time.
Seidler's approach to urban design was distinctive in its boldness. His tall, high-density buildings re-shaped the Sydney skyline and contributed usable public space to the city. His award-winning commercial projects during this period included Australia Square (1961), the MLC Centre (1972) and Grosvenor Place (1982) in Sydney, and his offices in Milson’s Point, all of which won Sir John Sulman awards, from the Royal Australian Institute of Architecture.
His residential work began to include more apartment commissions such as Ithaca Gardens in Elizabeth Bay (1960) and Blues Point Tower in McMahon's Point (1961). This early, high-rise housing was new to Sydney and attracted controversy, however he continued to win awards for his residential work. He received the RAIA Wilkinson award for Residential Architecture four times: Ski Lodge in Thredbo (1965), Muller House in Port Hacking (1966), Seidler House, Killara (1967), which he designed for his own family, and later the Horizon Apartments in Darlinghurst (1999).
Ski lodge, Thredbo
This award-winning mountain lodge, designed by Harry Seidler & Associates, was built in 1963 at the edge of the Thredbo Village ski resort in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales. Built on a difficult sloping site, directly over a mountain creek, it offered spectacular views of the ski slopes and mountains beyond. In 1965 it won the prestigious RAIA Wilkinson Award for residential architecture.
The unusual shape of the compact, multi-level timber building was determined by the difficult location and environmental conditions. There are a total of six half levels connected by a centrally placed main stair. The ski room, sauna and wash rooms are located on the bottom stone-walled level, where snow can pile up against the exterior. The bedrooms are located on the mid levels, and the large entertaining, living and dining areas are located on the top. The open plan of the top floors extends out onto terraces, maximising views of the ski slopes beyond.
The resulting building is larger at the top as the floor space increases. The structure is supported by five heavy vertical timber trusses with floors of increasing width hung between them. A view of the running creek below the building can be seen through a glass plate section of the living room floor.
Seidler Lodge, as it is now known, is still in operation and available for rental during the ski season.