Harry Seidler is regarded as one of the most influential individuals in modern architecture, especially in Australia. Based on his belief that architecture is a form of simple but functional design art, he was devoted to bettering the physical world through application of modern technology. Perhaps, one of the reasons why his works are considered revolutionary is the fact that he mostly employed advanced design and construction techniques.
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Through this, he was able to create bold typical contemporary architectural works, consisting of embassies, apartments, and offices. Among his outstanding designs include the Australia Square in George Street of Sydney, Killara’s Rose Seidler House, and Blue Print Tower of North Sydney. Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly review the career span, city of residence and practice, job description and details, key collaborators, clients, and key projects of Harry Seidler.
Reflectively, the Vienna born Harry Seidler is regarded as one of the finest architectures in Australia with long and successful career in residential, commercial, and public building design (McCartney, 2007). Across the 58 years career span, Harry achieved series of prestigious awards in structural design before his death in 2006.
He is best known for unique designs of skyscrapers and modern houses. His first major design was that of the famous ‘Rose Seidler House’ in 1948. In 1960s, he majored in public structures design such as the Australian Square admired for its radical design. This towering structure stood as the tallest and light weight concrete structure in the world. The most unique part of this structure was its circular office forms and wide open spaces (Spigelman, 2001).
Besides these structures, Harry is accredited as a founding associate of the Australian Architectural Association and being ‘Academia d’architecture’ member (McCartney, 2007). Reflectively, the long career was rewarded with 5 prestigious architectural medals from Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Royal Institute of British Architects, among others. These awards were as a result of recognition for an outstanding international architectural career (Spigelman, 2001).
Harry’s work entailed application of modern technology in art design. Notably, most of his works comprised of a combination of three major elements: artistic, social use (aesthetic) as well as technology (Spigelman, 2001). Arguably, his work varied as building technology changed.
At the beginning, Harry established himself as a timber house designer, before moving to concrete and later steel structures as technology progressed. At one point, he noted that were it not for advancement of building technology, it could have been very difficult to develop some of the stylish buildings such as the Horizon; that are evident in Australia and other parts of the world. Throughout his life time, he consistently balanced the three and two dimensional special arrangement in his major works (Spigelman, 2001).
Through collaboration with various engineers and artists, Harry attained a lot in the architectural field. By working as a team, they were successful in taking advantage of advancement in technology to come with new construction and design ideas. For example, his work progressed to incorporate geometric curves.
Besides, his urban design was unique; the construction of tall and high density buildings in Australia was as a result of his work. Among the notable collaborators include Frank Stella, Norman Carlberg, and Lin Utzon who greatly influenced his philosophy of design in structures such as the MLC Centre. Factually, this project has remained a complementary and integrated design that is intrinsic of architectural structural design (McCartney, K. (2007).
Among the most admired designs created by Harry include the famous Rose Seidler House, Marcus Seidler House, Sydney’s Glass House, Blues Point Tower, Ski Lodge, Muller House, and many more (Spigelman, 2001). At the peak of his career, which is from 1996, he managed to design ten buildings. These building include the 2003 unique North Apartments, ARCA Showroom, Riparian Plaza, and the late 2004 Alliance Françoise Building located in the heart of Sydney city.
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- Australia Square, Sydney (1961–67)
- Hong Kong Club Building, Hong Kong, 1980
- Riparian Plaza, Brisbane (1999–2005)
- Hochhaus Neue Donau, Vienna, Austria (1999–2002)
(Source: McCartney, 2007)
Finally, among his notable clients include the Spectrum fire, Transacta, Fin-connect, and the government of Australia. These clients had their structures either designed or modified by Harry Seidler.
Harry managed to maintain a self guided approach in collaborative design works that involved designing specific structural designs that are unique to each client or organization. Since architectural design methods focus on the development of a range of artistic skills, his designs remained indispensable to the long list of satisfied clients (McCartney, 2007).
Conclusively Harry Seidler’s career as an architecture was very successful due to his unique designs and high standards. During his long career, Harry specialized in modern and skyscrapers designs for residential, commercial and public building. Harry is recognized for having designed over 180 houses. As a result, Harry received more than twenty one awards including the lifetime Golden Badge of Honor and International Highness Awards for Vienna and Frankfort cities.
McCartney, K. (2007). Iconic Australian Houses. Sydney: Murdoch Book.
Spigelman, A. (2001). Almost full circle: Harry Seidler: a biography. Sydney: Brandl & Schlesinger.