SAHARA Highlights: Australia

by acqueline Spafford and Jeffrey Klee, SAHARA Co-Editors | Jul 02, 2019

This month our Highlights feature visits Australia. Several contributors have documented the iconic (Sydney Opera House!) and the obscure (early 19th century cottages). There are examples of colonial structures—modest and grand—through ambitious 21st-century sites. The work of prolific Austrian-born, Australia-based architect Harry Seidler is given especially comprehensive coverage. Thank you to our contributors, as always. And a reminder to all members, please consider contributing images from your research or travels to SAHARA! 

To see more, visit SAHARA: sahara.artstor.org/library/portals/SAHARA/rloginSAH.html 

To learn more about contributing to SAHARA, visit: sah.org/sahara

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Rose Seidler House, Wahroonga, New South Wales, 1948-50. Designed by Harry Seidler for his mother, this house is considered to be the first mid-century modern house in Australia.Photo by Dell Upton, 2015.

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The courtyard of the National Museum of Australia, Acton, Canberra, 2001. Ashton, Raggatt McDougall, with Richard Weller, and Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan. Photo by Anoma Pieris, 2008.

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Single-cell houses, Surry Hills, Sydney, mid-19th century. These four tiny houses have one room per floor. Photo by Dell Upton, 2015.

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Old State Library, Brisbane.The original Neoclassical building was constructed 1876–89 as the first home of the Queensland Museum, and became the State Library in 1902.The extension was built in the 1950s, and the mural by competition-winner Lindsay Edward was added in 1958. Photo by Macarena de la Vega de Leon.

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The City Family Hotel, Bendigo, Victoria. Built by Vahland & Getzschmann in 1870. Photo by Dell Upton, 1990.

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The lobby of Australia Square, Sydney, 1968, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere until 1973.The architect was Harry Seidler; the Sol LeWitt painting above the elevators was added in 2003. Photo by Mark Hinchman, 2014.

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Timber-framed house in New Farm, Brisbane, early 20th century. Photo by Andrew Leach, 2008.

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The living room of Harry and Penelope Seidler House, Killara, New South Wales, 1966–67. Designed by the Seidlers, the house and contents have been unaltered since 1967. Photo by Dell Upton, 2015.

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Parliament House, Canberra, 1988. The design by Mitchell/Giurgola & Thorp buries most of the building under Capital Hill. The installation on the lawn, First Step, was in commemoration of the National Apology in February 13, 2008. Photo by Anoma Pieris, 2008.

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Wertheim Factory, Melbourne; built in 1909 as a piano factory, and adapted to a mixed use complex in 2013. Designed by Kerstin Thompson Architects, it won the 2014 AIA Heritage Architecture Award. Photo by Renee Miller-Yeaman, 2013.




Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.
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