We’ve listed a number of Seidler apartments over the years dotted around Sydney, though we think this may be a first from ‘Arlington’ his huge, c.1965-66 complex of spacious residences in concrete and masonry with that dynamic drawbridge entry, bringing some sophisticated European panache to the inner leafy streets. Internally the spaces were created for generational, long-term home-making with this very apartment testament to that: the vendor’s grandfather having purchased at time of build, his mother raised there and now first time up for sale. Though obviously having undergone a contemporary white out (a burl on the Googs suggest any number of wild, private renovations going on in this building over the years – sorry Harry) it’s still heartening to see the some of the joinery and fittings remain and of course you can’t ever erase the light-filled floorplan.
For those freezing in the winter chill we can assure you that light and warmth is on it’s way and by the end of this very week, you’ll be feeling it. To tide you over, have a gander at this impeccably spring-light, roomy residence in Seidler’s renowned ‘Campbell Housing Apartments’, a Modernist jewel in our nation’s capital with this townhouse looking particularity refreshed, a refurb which (we think) remains in the purview of the master, whilst enticing all. We’ve a seen a few of these residences over the years and it warms the cockles to see the ever strengthening recognition and respect for this timeless beauty of design and construction. Special kudos to the agent and once again the photographer for truly flaunting the magic, we have no doubt it will go off with a bang on Saturday!
Not even a Rolex ad starring Daniel Craig smelling of cognac, cubans and cologne while Coltrane soars in the background could capture the high-end masculinity emanating from this honeytrap to end all honeytraps. Indeed it’s a very interesting angle to take with an interior revamp and a refreshing change from the usual skandi-white-handcrafted-plant-lady images filling Instagram feeds 24/7. Suffice to say this little studio pad (weekender? weeker? mistress? master?) is smack bang in Harry Seidler’s famous Aquarius Building which we have listed in various guises over the years, which only adds architectural heft to an already sophisticated take. The bespoke dark timber, chocolate tile, checked throw rugs and expressly Mid-Century Modern pieces all pointing to a certain clientele who dreams of Don Draper and/or blueblooded girls of independent means.This one is for the gentlemen out there.
If you didn’t already cop onto Canberra’s status as possibly our best city to explore Mid-Century design, including such architectural icons as the Australian Academy of Science AKA The Shine Dome, as well as a clutch of impressive domestic and public buildings from the cream of Australian architecture, including Robin Boyd, Roy Grounds, Harry Seidler and local luminary Enrico Taglietti then now is the time to explore – Canberra Modern (as part of the Design Canberra Festival) has begun!
“Canberra Modern (7-16 November) is an independent program of events being held during the Design Canberra festival 2017. Canberra Modern was initially inspired by Palm Springs Modernism Week and spearheaded a small team of local heritage and design professionals. We hope to promote the appreciation and conservation of the unique mid-century modern places which make an irreplaceable contribution to Canberra’s unique historic urban and designed cultural landscape through fun and inspirational events such as walks, talks, a vintage market, a dinner and a martini masterclass that celebrate Canberra’s modernist soul.”
The Shine Dome (AKA The Martian Embassy) by architect Sir Roy Grounds (c.1965)
From joyful rubber necking on bus tours, Sunday market, Conversations with contemporary experts and living legends, The sublime winners of a MCM photography competition, An arvo spent with Rosso and his comic celebration of Modernism die-hardery, and, what we love the most, after a long day of talk and appreciation perhaps a chance for some good old fashioned martini soaked fun times and/or an ANU great hall dinner with fellow travellers – what more could you want?
‘Benjamin Residence’ Alex Jelinek (c.956). Photo: Darren Bradley.
Get onto all the events in the links, post haste as they are selling out fast! And of you wanna mix it up with a bit of house peeping – Check the clutch of Canberra listings we’ve just posted; from a nifty Seidler townhouse to a glamorous updated residence to the re-listing of a jaw dropping, cold-war diplomatic compound there is always a little something for everyone in our (design) capital.
A super chic restyle of another townhouse in Seidler’s Campbell Housing complex (remember earlier in August?). This one comes complete with a positively gushing spiel by MCM fan agent, which only adds to the al round pleasure of this prospect.
A great little pad in a great little complex*. Known as the ‘The Campbell Housing Apartments’ and completed in 1968, this particularly innovative set of 32 apartments and 32 attached houses is the work of Harry Seidler and was initially commissioned by ANU to house post-grad students and their families, though now of course the free market has claimed them and they sit under body corporate.
Integral to the design is the use of split levels as the architect himself supposedly claimed they ‘expanded horizontal space by offsetting two floor levels’ making for roomy and orderly, though never boring, residences. As ACT Heritage Council put in their Statement of Heritage Significance;
“The Campbell Housing Apartments are of heritage significance as a notable example of a residential apartment complex, designed by Harry Seidler and based on the 1950s European housing projects by the famous pioneer of the Modern Movement, Le Corbusier. The apartments are important for their planning layout which includes an internal central corridor providing access to split-level apartments.”
And although the interior of this particular one is a little run-of-the-mill, simply living in such well devised high density housing would be a quiet joy.
*Career pollies who would like to claim another ‘living-away allowance’ offset in their spouses name, need not apply.
**UPDATE** Polly Seilder herself has contacted us to advise of certain changes to this building as follows “
Back in September 2015, we like to think that MA was one of the first alarm pushers who discovered this home on the market with seemingly no protections to stop it being completely destroyed if sold into the wrong hands (close to original Seidler, on huge land in leafy Sydney, it was looking shaky). Thankfully Harry Seidler is one architect in this country whose iconic work provokes loud calls for protection and historical cataloging (though with differing outcomes, depending on the councils and houses at hand). It seems the wheels of justice may have 360ed, this stunning home’s heritage protections in place and the vendors having achieved a beautiful compromise – phew! Now to be sold with 2 titles, perhaps this is the best outcome for this day and age; higher (well, than before) density living, with respect to the original, historic architecture. Win, win!
PS- We strongly suggest to click onto our 2015 listing of this property to see the divine Max Dupain images (c.1957) Polly Seidler kindly sent to us of this home post build – some serious inspiration right there.
A month overdue, but still some great news, Harry Seidler’s Thurlow House, a home transfer which caused a minor snafu in Modernist and heritage circles last year has with co-operation from the new owners and the Heritage Council of NSW, achieved state heritage listing, meaning it it now safe from demolition and can now be adored by generations to come. Hooray!
Like the make stuff at an industrial level? Need a new factory in Sydney? Keen to own the only Australian work by international Modernist giant Marcel Breuer? Well here’s your chance. The building formerly known as the Torin Factory is on the market. Coming about from a friendship between Breuer and Torin executive Rufus Stillman (who also had his home designed by Breuer – oh my!) this Australian outpost of a global company joins others (all from Breuer’s hand) in Belgium, France, the UK, Canada and several in the USA. Like many of the master’s most famous later works, this is a study of concrete dynamism. Brutal brilliance which rises out of the everyday landscape like BC ruins made for those who skate over mere mortal existence; queens, deities, myths, elevating all of us to the same. Baz the forklift driver is exalted. As the State Heritage Register attests:
“The Torin building is an aesthetically distinctive as a fine example of Late Twentieth Century Modernist industiral architecture The design demonstrates an economy in plan form, bold architectonic expression and the repetition of industrial elements either as extruded sections or precast elements.”
*All images by Max Dupain
What do we have here? An impressive Seidler (from what we can ascertain, though photos are low res and thin on the ground) in a more than impressive location, listed only by a staff reporter in a publication aimed at high roller property investors (with an intriguing coda about the cantilevered balcony being filled in?). No listing with the supposed agents, nothing on the usual sites or basic Google waltzes. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Our antenna raised enough to go to the top and contact Polly Seidler herself, for fear someone may be trying to offload a bit of Australian built heritage from under our pokey noses. We’re not having that. Stay tuned.
**Update** The indomitable Polly Seidler has advised she also does not know much about this sale, but has offered some info on what and where this home was built, and subsequent alterations. Of course it was photographed by Max Dupain in 1958!
**Update pt 2** Now with added listing.