In 1967, Penelope Seidler and her husband, the legendary late Harry Seidler, moved into the house they had collaboratively designed. The Killara House, where Penelope has lived for over forty years, is situated on what is now called the Harry Seidler Reserve. The house is a monument to Seidler’s revolutionary architectural style, and a testament to the pair’s renowned artistic taste.
The house is built on what Penelope calls an ‘architect’s block’; it’s “steeply sloping, surrounded by trees, a creek at one end, a bush reserve at another and no immediate neighbours” being exactly what they wanted. It has a split plan over four half-levels while the machined palette remains quite visceral and expresses the fundamental structure of the house.
The house remains virtually unchanged since the 1960s with wet-look quartzite stone floors and Tasmanian oak ceilings. Also untouched is the vast collection of art that the pair shared, on display throughout the massive house. Today, the house is on the NSW State Heritage Register and is becoming a pop culture icon in itself, just as its namesake Harry Seidler indeed is!
Interestingly though, Penelope had this to say: “Funnily enough I find people like the house a lot better now than they did when it was first built. They thought it was all too stark and found the concrete too confronting. I think it’s beautiful. There’s a medieval quality to the masonry walls, and the texture of timber all around, it’s like my castle. Harry liked things tough; he always said this house was indestructible, and he’s absolutely right.”
Photographs by Max Dupain and plans via the State Library of NSW.