ARCHITECTS IN OZ - Harry Seidler

"Modern Architecture is not a style"

Harry Seidler was born in Vienna in 1923 and studied in North America with some of the pioneers of modernism. When he arrived in Australia in 1948, he brought with him a deeply held commitment to modern architecture. His first house at Turramurra in New South Wales (built for his mother) is now a museum under the Historic House Trust of N.S.W. Other projects include Australia Square in Sydney, 1967, the M.L.C. Centre, Sydney, 1975, the Riverside Development in Brisbane, Grosvenor Place in Sydney and the Shell Building in Melbourne.

"Historically there certainly is an Australian architecture which is quite distinctive. It's the translation of English Georgian architecture into a new climate, and I believe that whenever this kind of thing happens, it yields, quite unique and distinctively Australian images. In the traditional sense, there are of course the well known verandah forms which show that the people who settled here realized they needed protection for the warm, sunny climate."

"The vocabulary, which is the raw material with which you build, is common to any civilized man or race in the late twentieth century anywhere on the globe. What is Australian about our architecture and can remain uniquely so, is a translation of that vocabulary through our way of life, our needs, and how we satisfy them. Our climate and the physical limitations within our economic and technical environment, ensure that our architecture will be called Australian because of the way it responds to our conditions. In my own work I've tried very hard to find solutions which give evidence of this. In other words, our buildings are not necessarily to be found in other parts of the world."

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