Docomomo Australia Modern Register

(arch.) Sydney Ancher

Sydney Ancher


Australian architect (Sydney, 25 February 1904 – 8 December 1979)

Sydney Ancher (1949) source: Mitchell Library SLNSW FL16319509

Sydney Ancher had a significant impact on the establishment of modern domestic architecture in Australia. Ancher was born in Sydney and studied architecture at Sydney Technical College. He travelled extensively in Europe as a young architect, and was significantly influenced by the work of Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

In his early career, Ancher worked for established architects, such as Emil Sodersten and Reginald A. de T. Prevost, on residential projects. Ancher had his own private practice in the 1940s, before creating the partnership of Ancher, Mortlock and Murray in 1952, joined later by Ken Wooley in 1964. Sydney Ancher was awarded the Sulman Prize in 1945 for his own home, Poytntzfeld.

Hallmarks of Ancher’s Residential Design:

  • International style with the use of white and boxy forms
  • Sensitive placement on the site often angles to utilise the natural existing formations of the land such as rocks and native trees
  • Open plan design
  • Usually, a simple material palette, using precast concrete plinths with timber and concrete columns, timber floor and roof framing
  • White masonry external walls with expansive slim framed windows
  • Single long verandahs often running the full length of the house
  • Ancher often used a module system to determine the structural frame of his houses

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In the DA Register