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A rose by any other name

a large lawn in front of a house

When completed in 1950, Rose Seidler House was ‘the most talked about house in Sydney’. Designed by the young Harry Seidler for his parents Rose and Max, the house overturned almost every convention of suburban home design. It was in fact the promise of designing a house for his mother that brought Harry to Australia, and its success helped launch his Australian and soon after international career.

Seidler was one of a number of architects exploring a new kind of architecture that looked to the future rather than to the traditions of the past. He was concerned in using new materials and technologies and creating new kinds of relationships between built forms and the landscape and in the arrangement of internal spaces. His holistic approach determined the use of form, space, materials, colour, fittings, interiors and landscaping, with the site itself integral to the design and the way of living it would enable.

The radical design both inside and out integrated architecture, art and technology in a bold and optimistic vision for a new way of living. Today, still surrounded by bushland with panoramic views of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, the house is one of the finest examples of mid-20th-century modern domestic architecture in Australia, and its furniture and fittings form one of the most complete and intact post World War II design collections in public ownership. A must for any archilovers who adore modern buildings.

‘When designing a house, the contemporary architect thinks of an “environment for living” rather than of empty box-like rooms … he designs actual spaces in the interior for specific purposes and designs the furnishings and equipment that go into them.’ Harry Seidler, 1952

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IMAGE CREDIT: Justin Mackintosh