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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Harry Seidler part one

In their own words

Recorded 1972

Harry Seidler part one
Audio: 2 minutes

One of the greatest luxuries in years to come will be visual privacy. With the intensification of development as we know it, that will be the most sought after thing –  to be able to look out and see nothing but trees and nature rather than any other manmade thing.

In my early years I used to build things out of timber and light construction, but after seeing these things perform over the years, and travelling more and seeing the great buildings of the past, I just don’t want to have anything to do with the so-called new things very often that are sold every Monday morning, something brilliant and new made out of flimsy metal or plastics and so on. Masonry – there’s no getting away from it and I don’t think there’s a replacement for it as yet, the solidity of masonry. It will not decay, it won’t need maintenance. It is thermally more stable, buildings are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter that are made of that material. And buildings should be tough, they should be able to take abuse by both people and the elements, just like those great buildings of the past, they invariably used tough materials and they’ve lasted for hundreds of years.

I’ve always been influenced by painters and sculptors. Gropius used to call them the sensitive translators of the impacts of our time. I love, of course, to have their works around me and that’s why I love collecting paintings. They not only are great to be with but they actually teach us many things visually. The successful interplay between art and our technology, that’s what it’s really all about.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Harry Seidler is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

Related people

Harry Seidler AC OBE

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency