Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Rose Seidler House (1948-50), Sydney

In the next few days, I want to go and see the Rose Seidler House (1948-50). Designed by well-known Sydney architect Harry Seidler for his mother. It is a later expression of the Bauhaus and the International Style of the 1920's, whose antecedents were in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright in the very earliest years of the twentieth century.

This movement was characterized by opening up of the interior, so space flowed through the house and its living areas. Rather than closing it off as rooms, leaving space static. Open plan living. The exterior was constructed of undecorated planes - the whole often box-like and raised on piloti or slim steel columns. And floor to ceiling glass wall windows. The two most famous examples are Le Corbusier's Ville Savoye (1928-31), Poissy, France and, more extremely, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (1928-29), Barcelona, Spain.

Le Corbusier - Ville Savoye (1928-31), Poissy, France

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Barcelona Pavilion (1928-29), Barcelona, Spain

The Seidler House in Sydney looks forward from these styles to integrate 1950's architectural elements, such as the feature wall in the second photograph. And back to Frank Lloyd Wright in the monolithic masonry fireplace.

The House is located at 71 Clissold Road, Wahooonga, Sydney. It is open to the public 11am-3pm Wednesday to Sunday.

I'll take some photographs there and post anything that seems worth adding.


  1. I've been interested in architecture for many years. There was a lot of very interesting work done in Germany between the WWI and WWII. My father lived in a new settlement (Siedlung) in Allenstein, East Prussia with his family. In the hopes of finding out who the architect was I did some research on various architects from that period. I still don't know the name of the architect but perhaps someday... Thanks for posting the photos and details. Hope to see more!

  2. Very cool house...definitely a Frank lloyd Wright inspiration!

  3. I love those houses, but probably most of all because they are so friggin different than the square boxes that most of the houses in the good ole boring U.S.A. has.
    That first house is really impressive.

  4. hi volker - i did some googling on various words, including some up to all of 'new settlement Siedlung Allenstein East Prussia'. most stuff was in german without a translation option. might be the way for you to try, but i guess you have done this already. if i find anything, i'll post here again. good luck with your search. nick

  5. hey flipflopsboy and greg - love them too - there was a house in this style up for sale out of sydney a few years ago - built in the 30's with all the original fittings - and i was very tempted to buy it - but it was at an anti-social distance from everyone i know. mmm - next life time!

  6. Hi Nick, I've gone that route myself, and since I read and speak German, the odds are better but I haven't found what I'm looking for yet. It's a matter of finding the right words and link (or links). Bruno Taut was one option since he was an architect born and trained in East Prussia. Have you seen the Hufeisensiedlung ("Horseshoe settlement") in Berlin? I remember seeing it first-hand when I was 18.

  7. hey volker. i've been to berlin a few times. but not come across Horseshoe settlement. just google imaged it - looks like the kind of architecture that interests me. so i'm google more and tell you what my further reaction is. i did a couple of years of architecture within a fine arts degree. so from an aesthetic point of view, rather than a technical one. though study one one doesn't come without a study of the other. take care. nick

  8. My aunt (mother's sister) lived a few steps away from the Hufeisensiedlung, so on three visits to Berlin over the years, I had no choice but to admire the architecture. My interests were in art (line drawings, oil and water colour, lino prints, etc) but I also took some mechanical drafting in high school. Other interests are nature and photography ( but oddly enough I've been doing work other than what I truly love. That should change eventually.