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97/190/1-1 Architectural model, 'Kooralbyn Hillside Housing', plastic/ paper, designed by Harry Seidler and Associates, made by Arcmod Models Pty Ltd, Australia, 1979. Click to enlarge.

Architectural model 'Kooralbyn Hillside Housing'

  • 1979
Harry Seidler's approach to this resort commission was to create an apparently casual arrangement of 55 small (93 square metres) houses on a hillside overlooking a lake and golf course. The housing units employ a split level design (with rear entry via the upper floor) to maximise internal space and views down the hillside. This design also complements the sloping site as does the siting of the houses in relation to the varying slope of the hillside.

Seidler's use of white-rendered masonry …


Object No.


Object Statement

Architectural model, 'Kooralbyn Hillside Housing', plastic/ paper, designed by Harry Seidler and Associates, made by Arcmod Models Pty Ltd, Australia, 1979

Physical Description

Architectural model, 'Kooralbyn Hillside Housing', plastic/paper, designed by Harry Seidler and Associates, made by Arcmod Models Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1979.
Large rectangular model showing housing estate within contoured landscape.



370 mm


1140 mm



  • 1979


Designed by Harry Seidler and Associates 1979-1982. Model made by Bob Brown of Arcmod Models Pty Ltd, Winston Hills, Sydney

Housing units were designed in pairs and groups, varying and avoiding rigidity by changing the forms, aspect and relationships into continuous soft curves following the irregular contours. Houses have identical structure and manufactured elements (all are 93msq) with only minor variations of layout, and occasional opposing roof slopes. Because of the steep slope of the site, the units are arranged on two levels; entrances are on the top. Upper level bedrooms become open mezzanines in the high living rooms. Roofs are parallel to the slope of the site and are made of Roman pantiles. Their texture, with white-washed walls and the natural stone terraces increase the Mediterranean feel of the hill-town.

- from 'Harry Seidler' by Kenneth Frampton and Philip Drew,Thames and Hudson, 1992.

Harry Seidler (1923-2006) was born in Vienna and fled Nazism via England, Canada and the USA where at Harvard University he was a student of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Seidler visited Sydney in 1948 to design a home for his parents. His intended return to the USA was halted by numerous requests to design houses similar to Rose Seidler house.

Seidler was one of a generation of new arrivals who internationalised an Anglophile outpost. Another was Dutch engineer Dick Dusseldorp who engaged Seidler to design numerous projects for his Lend Lease construction company. Among these were sophisticated but affordable apartment blocks which lent glamour and liveability to inner city living. Others included major urban redevelopments designed around office towers; Australian Square was the first of these. Seidler also found success internationally, his Australian Embassy in Paris the best-known of several off-shore commissions.

No architect has had a greater impact on Sydney through both his own work and its influence on others. Although Harry Seidler's Modernism was shaped by Europe and the US, Sydney also formed his work and his social presence. Often caricatured as a doctrinaire modernist, Seidler tailored most of his work to Sydney's climate and topography. Some of his best buildings – Blues Point Tower, Australia Square to name but two - were also his most controversial. As a polemicist, Seidler was less compromising but Sydney's urban culture benefited from his scorn of the second-rate in design and decision-making. His donation of this model, among others, was typical of his generosity to the Powerhouse and the arts community.

In addition to numerous awards received locally, such as the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal, in 1996 Seidler was the recipient of the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal.

Cite this Object


Architectural model 'Kooralbyn Hillside Housing' 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 14 June 2021, <https://ma.as/156665>


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