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Harry Seidler AC OBE

1923 – 2006

Harry Seidler AC OBE (b. 1923), architect and designer, was born in Vienna and completed his early architectural studies in England and Canada. He studied under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at the Harvard School of Design, and at Black Mountain College in North Carolina with Joseph Albers. He worked with Alvar Aalto in Massachusetts, with Breuer in his New York practice and with Oscar Niemeyer in Rio de Janeiro before deciding to settle in Sydney in 1948. The first house he designed was for his parents in Turramurra. Now known as the Rose Seidler House, it introduced Bauhaus principles to Australia. Since starting in private practice in 1949 Seidler has made a significant contribution to the architecture of Sydney, for example in his Australia Square buildings (1961-7), the MLC Centre (1972-5) and Grosvenor Place (1982-88). For each of these developments he was awarded the Sir John Sulman Medal of the RAIA. In Canberra, his designs include the Campbell medium-density housing complex, Ethos House in the city, Barton Offices and the Yarralumla Lakeview apartments. From the 1970s onward Seidler has held regular appointments as visiting professor at universities in Australia, the USA and Switzerland. Amongst his multitudinous awards are the RAIA Gold Medal (1976) and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal (1996). He received Australia's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 1987. Max Dupain was Seidler's favourite architectural photographer.

Updated 2018