photo: Marcell Seidler © Penelope Seidler

Site Overview

site name:
Rose Seidler House Group
Rose Seidler House (1948-1950)
Julian Rose House  (1949-1950)
Donna and Brian Seidler House (1949-2008)
former Marcus Seidler House (1949-1951)
1st addition (1958)
2nd addition (2008)
Harry and Penelope Seidler
69-71 Clissold Road, Sydney NSW
protection status:

NSW State Heritage Register (00261)
Sulman Award in 1951
fiche editor:
Noni Boyd, Anne Higham in 2003


Together, the group of three houses designed and constructed by Harry Seidler between 1948 and 1951 on a two-hectare site at Wahroonga, next to the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park represent one of the most important enclaves of post-war Modernist residential architecture in Australia. The first house to be built was for Seidler’s parents, Rose and Max Seidler. The Rose Seidler House, as it has become known, is an elevated and hollowed out, white painted, near square planned timber and glass box. The dramatic timber ramp, Mondrian-like window divisions, red and yellow external doors, the abstract mural on the house’s north-facing sundeck designed and painted by Seidler, the built-in furniture and free-standing pieces designed by Seidler and made by Paul Kafka, and the contrast with the pure white forms against sandstone retaining and garden walls that appear inside the house, as well as furniture by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, make this house a landmark moment for Australian Modernism in terms of purity and pedigree.

The second design for the site was a two-bedroom house for Seidler’s uncle Marcus, and the third house was built as a weekender for his brother Marcell, who never moved in but instead sold it to Julian Rose, and it henceforth became known as the Rose House. In 1988, the Rose Seidler House was given to the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, now Sydney Living Museums, and opened to the public after a complete restoration. The Marcus Seidler House received an addition in 1958-9 designed by Harry Seidler and between 2004 and 2008, restoration and further additions were made the Seidler office for current owner Brian Seidler, son of the original client. Brian Seidler later purchased the Rose House and commenced its restoration in 2017.

Text adapted from an entry by Philip Goad in Australia Modern: Architecture, Landscape and Design 1925-1975 (2019, Thames and Hudson).


Julian Rose House. Photo by Harry Seidler 1954 © Penelope Seidler
Donna and Brian Seidler House. Dirk Meinecke, 2008 © Harry Seidler & Associates