Published  01/06/2006

Vale, Harry

The renowned Viennese architect, Harry Seidler, died in early March of this year. An itinerant Modernist in his early career, he soon settled in Sydney, and had a profound and formative effect on Australian modern design. He also, as architect Glenn Murcutt said recently, transformed planning decisions by being prepared to take the local authorities to court for misplaced judgments on his buildings: 'We couldn't do a flat roof in Sydney in the '50s without putting a (significant) brick parapet around to hide the ugly roof. That was the regulation. Harry fought that in a case when a judge said the council no longer had the right to disapprove architecture on the basis of aesthetics'. Seidler was renowned worldwide, not least in Finland, where he received important awards and was a much-welcomed speaker at conferences. One of his last gestures to the avant-garde was to host British artist Tracey Emin when she visited Australia early this year. He will be much mourned. Seidler was 82 when he died.

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