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Harry Seidler collection

Designs and photographs from Australia's best known modernist architect.

Seidler’s scrapbooks

Harry Seidler’s personal scrap albums, covering the period 1948-1968, record his career as an architect from the time of his arrival in Sydney. The three albums, arranged chronologically, contain press cuttings from the popular press and specialist architectural publications of the time, including articles about Seidler’s early domestic designs and associated disputes with local councils, as well as his ongoing interest in urban design and planning.

The albums feature articles relating to some of his best-known, award-winning and controversial projects such as Rose Seidler House, the Ithaca Gardens apartments at Elizabeth Bay, the Australia Square building and Blues Point Tower, Sydney. They also contain articles about his personal life, his wife Penelope and their own Seidler house, Killara, which they designed together.

These albums give a valuable insight into Harry Seidler's early career and his reputation as a leading modernist architect of the day.

Seidler's scrapbooks - volume 1 (1949-1956)

This scrap album contains articles relating to Harry Seidler’s early career and his interest in modernism, including his projects such as the award winning Rose Seidler House, the Ithaca Gardens apartments in Elizabeth Bay and Waks House in Northbridge, as well as his ongoing battles with local councils and bureaucracy.


Articles on Seidler’s early career refer to him as unconventional and innovative: "Once you’ve seen a Seidler house, you’ll never forget it" (1955), "Innovation in architecture" (1954), "An architect of controversy" (1954), "His home designs startled Sydney" (1954). Seidler’s modernist designs shocked some of Sydney: "High priest of the twentieth century – Harry Seidler has trouble persuading conservatives that his houses are just right for the modern age" (1950), "New architecture exciting, but - houses with legs frighten Sydney home-seekers" (1955), "House without inside walls!" (1956).

Seidler’s early career was plagued by battles with local councils: "Council won’t pass modernistic roof" (1949), "Architect may fight ban on home plan" (1950), "Model home banned" (1950), "Architect wins dispute over house design" (1951), "Council agrees to new design" (1952), "Unconventional house causes stir" (1952).

The press at the time referred to Rose Seidler House in Wahroonga, as "Ultra-modern" and "The most talked-about house in Sydney" (1952). Designed by Seidler for his parents, it won the Sulman Award in 1951. The young Harry Seidler is portrayed as "Architect beats convention" (1952), "Medal won by rebel architect" (1952), "Young man who trod an eventful trail from Vienna wins one of Australia’s major awards in home design" (1952).

Another of his projects, Waks House, built on a cliffside in Northbridge, is referred to as an "ingenious and practical building a house on a difficult slope" (1951).

Seidler's scrapbooks - volume 2 (1957-1962)

This album includes articles relating to Blues Point Tower, Sydney, designed by Harry Seidler. Completed in 1962, it is one of Sydney’s most talked-about and controversial high-rise apartment blocks. Newspaper and press articles of the day refer to its planning and development, construction and the subsequent public response.


Articles include early housing plans for McMahon’s Point and the construction of Blues Point Tower: "Experts plan lay-out for McMahon’s Point (1957), "McMahon’s Point scheme – 20m plan for suburb" (1957), ""Huge block of flats to be built" (1958), "Home unit block to go up 250ft" (1958), "Start made on Australia’s tallest block of flats" (1960), "Sky is the limit for Sydney buildings" (1961).

Publicity surrounding the new building was great: "Now…Sydney’s greatest home unit building, Blues Point Tower" (1962), "Glamorous yet practical is home unit living at Blues Point Tower" (1962) "Tower units with matchless harbour views" (1962), "Everybody’s idea of home units", "26-Storey building gives tenants view of harbour" (1964).

Seidler's scrapbooks - volume 3 (1963-1968)

This album includes articles relating to the Sulman Award-winning Australia Square, designed by Harry Seidler. Completed in 1967, it was Sydney’s first highrise office tower. Newspaper and magazine articles of the day refer to its planning, construction and subsequent public reaction.


Articles include the early planning, design and construction of Australia Square tower: "Urgent talks in council on skyscraper plans" (1962), "Support by council for square" (1962), "Australia Square plan passed: smaller tower" (1962), "Beauty in concrete for Sydney" (1963), "Tower design was a triumph" (1964), "Australia Square’s first block finished" (1964).

Once completed, Australia Square was described as a towering giant for Sydney: "Undoubtedly one of the world’s most impressive buildings" (1967), "Splendor in concrete" (1966), "This will be our tallest" (1966), "A work of art without equal in Australia"(1966), "Aust Square is example of urban renewal" (1967), "Circular skyscraper towers over Sydney" (1968), "Award winner – Sulman Medal to city tower" (1968).

This scrap album also includes articles relating to Seidler’s award winning Thredbo Ski Lodge: "A lodge on Snowy Mountains" (1963), "Wilkinson Award for 1965 for a house of outstanding merit" (1966).

During the 1960s, Seidler continued to be involved in urban planning and development: Articles included: "Plea for bolder city redevelopment" (1965), "I am concerned" (1963), "A brand new city – planning essential, say top architects" (1963).

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 AC OBE.