Concern over fate of Harry Seidler-designed 1950s Warrawee home

Concern over fate of Harry Seidler-designed 1950s Warrawee home
Concern over fate of Harry Seidler-designed 1950s Warrawee home

The marketing of an original 1950s Harry Seidler-designed Warrawee house as a "knock-down" opportunity has caused consternation on Sydney's upper north shore.

Set on a 1,847 sqm Finlay Road block, it is an extraordinarily intact timewarp. Just look at those colourful kitchen cupboards, all very retro.

"The home has loads of character but is in need of a full renovation or knock down, rebuild and capitalise on this sought after location," the Savills Cordeau Marshall marketing suggests. It featured in the 1992 Harry Seidler: Four Decades of Architecture book with Exley House having been proudly photographed on its 1957 completion by Max Dupain. 

The late Harry Seidler, who arrived in Sydney in the late 1940s from Vienna via England, Canada America, was a student of Walter Gropius who pursued the industralisation of home building for mass housing. Seidler is considered to be one of the leading exponents of modernism's methodology in Australia, the first architect to fully express the principles of the Bauhaus in Australia.

The three bedroom home, with ensuite wing added later, has been listed by the Exley family for October 10 auction. Agents Carl and Donna Ferris are suggesting $1.8 million plus for the house built for Water Board engineer Cecil Exley.

Finlay Road is a special for architectural devotees as it also has the Evatt House, also known as Rickard House I, a seminal work in organic modern architecture, the first house designed by Bruce Rickard for his own family in Sydney. 

This article first appeared in The Sunday Telegraph.

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