Alex Popov: reflections on Harry Seidler

“There are no truths in architecture”, said Aalto, and whether or not you like Modernism, or Seidler’s interpretation of it, he has forced all architects to take their own position in respect of which architectural doctrine they will fight for and defend.

Harry certainly fought for his own position, which also became our shared legacy, in advancing an articulate and intelligent urban building response.

A lesser known quality of Harry Seidler’s, which is common to those who are at ease with themselves, is the generosity of time, information and support he extended not only to students and architects but to countless others who called on his wisdom and opinion. Harry always found time to talk and to support, or, when encouragement alone was enough, to clear the fog of day and maintain the fight to produce outstanding work.

Until Harry Seidler came along, Sydney had no debate about architecture and design. harry empowered architecture to become a respected voice in the urban debate and elevated it in the public mind from a profession to a philosophical force to be reckoned with. We owe him a debt of gratitude for this, just as much as for the legacy of iconic buildings with which Harry Seidler has endowed Australia’s urban landscape.

Alex Popov