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  3. On Medieval Modernism: Sydney's Harry & Penelope Seidler House

On Medieval Modernism: Sydney's Harry & Penelope Seidler House

On Medieval Modernism: Sydney's Harry & Penelope Seidler House

In this short film, Monocle speaks to Penelope Evatt Seidler about the Modernist home she designed and built with her late husband, Harry Seidler, at Killara on Sydney's north shore. Far removed from the skyscrapers and residential towers for which the Seidler practice is known for, this house—completed in 1967—is a manifesto in early Modern and Bauhaus aesthetics that "are just as forward-thinking today as they were back then," built into the Australian landscape.

Although it is located in an established suburb, the Harry and Penelope Seidler House is sited in a steep valley adjacent to a natural bush reserve, ensuring privacy and seclusion. It looks out over unspoilt nature – a creek flowing along the bottom of the property becomes a gushing waterfall during rainy periods.

The garage is cantilevered over a rock ledge at the top of the site, directly off the street. The approach to the house is across an entry bridge, which leads into the topmost of four half levels that follow the slope of the land downwards. The top level accommodates kitchen, dining area and library; the second level the living space and main bedroom; the third, opening onto the garden, the children’s rooms and playroom; and the bottom a studio, utility room and guest suite with garden views. The aim of the design is to visually extend the horizontal freedom of space vertically by opening the various levels into each other – an open shaft between them rises two and a half storeys high.

On Medieval Modernism: Sydney's Harry & Penelope Seidler House, Walter Gropius and Harry Seidler (right), 1954. Image © Max Dupain
Walter Gropius and Harry Seidler (right), 1954. Image © Max Dupain

Description via Sydney Living Museums

Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "On Medieval Modernism: Sydney's Harry & Penelope Seidler House" 02 Mar 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/783040/on-medieval-modernism-the-harry-and-penelope-seidler-house/> ISSN 0719-8884