John Hearder was a society photographer whose studio and display window were on Castlereagh Street between Rowe Street and the old Theatre Royal. In late December 1958 the display was dominated by a wedding photograph of an unusually handsome and chic couple not in bridal garments. They were Penelope Evatt and Harry Seidler. We were fascinated; after all she was only our age (20), he was an older (35) celebrity architect. It was the beginning of a wonderful, fruitful partnership now celebrated in an excellent exhibition Harry Seidler: Painting Toward Architecture at the Museum of Sydney until March 8.
There is not a major city in Australia that does not have the benefit of Seidler architecture but Sydney is the greatest beneficiary. One cannot imagine the Sydney skyline and public spaces without Harry Seidler’s signature: unmistakeable but unpredictable. It is somehow appropriate that the site on which his wedding picture was displayed became incorporated in the MLC Centre (1975), one of his boldest and most effective commissions.
Last week I walked through the lobby of Australia Square (1967). It is more awe-inspiring now than on our first visit to the Summit restaurantthat same year. Sometimes one has had to grow into a full appreciation of a Seidler; a case in point is his Horizon apartments, which I now perceive as a majestic pennant fluttering literally apart. This exhibition mixes the personal and the professional to perfect effect.
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