Rose Seidler House Sydney

Designed by modernist architect Harry Seidler

Up a narrow set of carpeted stairs, the voice is loud, it is too loud. Entering the open plan living space, it is drenched in light, it all seems too obvious. The voice comes over to invite me into a tour, I am overwhelmed, there are people everywhere. I politely decline and go back down the stairs and outside to start again. I turn and walk up the steep driveway so I can reorient myself with Rose Seidler House Sydney

There is a strong dissimilarity between the environment and the house, this makes it easy to focus. A salient presence as it rises from the earth with stone then transitions to man-made materials. The juxtaposition of all the straight lines of the building with the gnarly branches of the trees, exquisite.

Harry Seidler designed this house for his mother Rose, she lived in it with his father Max for more than twenty years from the date of completion in 1950. It is an excellent example of the Modernist/Bauhaus movement.  The balance between function and form, lack of ornamentation and no corridors; hallmarks for a new era in design. The tension between the house and the environment very alluring.

I think it was the perfect house for the uncomplicated Australian of this time. Australia was at the beginning of a massive period of European immigration that would shape our tastes and culture over the coming decades. It is no wonder that Australians and specifically Sydneysiders lauded this house, it is highly attractive, with a timeless quality.

An incredible amount of natural light flowing in, everything is illuminated, divine views from every window. The fire with its large stone hearth; it sits flush to the floor; there is enough room for a body, or two. A glimpse of the ephemeral. My senses searching for fleeting beauty in spaces. I don’t always find it, sometimes it finds me.

The inviting Euro Saarinen Womb chair overlooking the valley, the northern orientation. This would be a wonderful winter house. I can easily picture Rose in her kitchen, so much thought to function and form being placed in this space. Rose to be one of the first housewives in Australia to have a dishwasher. The moderation shown, something that must have required discipline for a project with few pecuniary constraints.

It’s difficult to fully appreciate any house when it is not being lived in, the melancholy that sits silently beside greatness. This is especially true of this house as it has become an expectation filled example of what things should be. Rose Seidler house Sydney was well worth the visit. An overt expression of the love between mother (and father) and son, introducing us to the work of an influential architect.

Post Script – I am so glad I took a few minutes to allow the previous visitors to finish their tour. It is important to pay attention to your mood when you visit anything. You want to enjoy it. Your mind needs to be relaxed and open. So if you need to reset, then do it.

Address 71 Clissold Road Wahroonga NSW 2076 Open Sundays only 10am-4pm

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