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A Singular Vision: Harry Seidler

384 pages5 hours


The power, passions and private life of the architect who shaped modern Australia - shortlisted for the 2015 National Biography Awards

Harry Seidler was a key figure in international modern architecture and in the establishment of post-war modern design in Australia - a man who effectively shaped the look of modern, urban Australia. But while many know his buildings, few know his fascinating story.

Born in Austria to an affluent Jewish family, he fled the looming Nazi threat at the age of 15. Separated from his parents, Harry escaped to England as a refugee, only to be imprisoned with his older brother as an enemy alien during the war and sent to Canada. Within the confines of internment camps, architecture became both his passion and his salvation. Upon his release Harry studied in Canada and at Harvard in the United States under Bauhaus master Walter Gropius. In 1948, he agreed to come to Australia, where his family had found sanctuary, to design a home for his parents.

That dwelling, Rose Seidler House, represented a huge shift in Australian modern domestic architecture. It was followed by ?a succession of innovative house designs and landmark office commissions, such as Australia Square and the MLC Centre, which changed the skyline of Australia's cities.

A Singular Vision is the compelling story of a brilliant and controversial architect's extraordinary life, his vision, his influence, and his many towering achievements.

Shortlisted for the 2015 National Biography Award

'O'Neill's book deftly brings together these two sides of Seidler - the personal and professional - in a way that makes the book's main protagonist more human and more flawed but at the same time, admirable and formidable in the professional battlefield that was and continues to be architectural practice'  Australian Book Review

'A wonderful biography ... sharp and illuminating ... O'Neill has breathed fresh life into Seidler's legacy ... [this book] has ample appeal for both the architecture world and general readers'  The Australian Jewish News

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