Rose Seidler House, exterior. Photo © Nicholas Watt, Sydney Living Museums

Rose Seidler House and Julian Rose House 2018

Focus Tour - Saturday 3 November



1948-50 Rose Seidler House; 1951, 1953-54 Julian Rose House


Harry Seidler


1951 Sir John Sulman Medal (Rose Seidler House), RAIA

Rose Seidler House (1948–50) was the architect Harry Seidler’s first commission after his arrival in Australia in 1948. The house was built for his parents, Max and Rose, at the centre of a large bushland block on the upper slopes of the Ku-ring-gai valley. It was the first of three houses Harry designed for the site, which included the Marcus Seidler House (1951-53; now called the Donna and Brian Seidler House) and the Julian Rose House (1951, 1953–54). This form of communal housing, innovative for Sydney at the time, sought to reunite the Seidler family in postwar Australia.

Seidler was one of a number of architects exploring a new kind of architecture that looked to the future rather than to the traditions of the past. He was concerned in using new materials and technologies and creating new kinds of relationships between built forms and the landscape and in the arrangement of internal spaces. His holistic approach determined the use of form, space, materials, colour, fittings, interiors and landscaping, with the site itself integral to the design and the way of living it would enable.

Rose Seidler House was acquired in 1988 by the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (now Sydney Living Museums), and opened to the public in its original furnished condition.

Tour experience

Join a very special Sydney Open experience with curator Joanna Nicholas’s guided tour of the iconic Rose Seidler House, plus a sneak peek (with Brian Seidler) at current conservation works happening at the Julian Rose House.

Rose Seidler House has one of the most significant collections of mid-century domestic furnishings and fixtures in Australia, and its conservation challenges are great. Joanna will share secrets and highlights of caring for, conserving and interpreting this significant and fragile place.

Brian Seidler grew up in the Marcus Seidler House (now known as the Donna and Brian Seidler House). He and Donna recently purchased the Julian Rose House and are undertaking its restoration and refurbishment. You’ll hear firsthand from Brian the joys and challenges of conserving a modernist classic.


Joanna is a curator for the Sydney Living Museums House Museums Portfolio, responsible for Vaucluse House, Elizabeth Bay House and Rose Seidler House. She is the curator of the 2018 Meroogal Women’s Art Prize and coordinates Sydney Living Museums’ volunteer Soft Furnishings Group. She is also a reviewer for the Standards Program for Museums & Galleries of NSW and a member of the Collections Committee for the National Trust. Having taught museum studies at the University of Sydney, and been a curator at Sydney Living Museums for over 15 years, Joanna is a passionate advocate for the power of museum collections, gardens and grounds to engage with our history and enrich our future.

Brian Seidler is the Executive Director of the Master Builders Association of NSW, a position he has held since 2000, and lives with his family in one of Harry Seidler’s earliest-designed homes.

Key information

Session duration

1 hr 15 mins


This tour has a capacity of 12 people per session.

Visitor requirements

Parking is available at the top of the site; please follow directional signage.

Sturdy shoes are required as the Julian Rose House is undergoing building works. Visitors will be required to take off their shoes at Rose Seidler House to protect the heritage fabric.

to know

  • Photography restricted
    Photography allowed in Rose Seidler House. No photography allowed in Julian Rose House.

  • Toilets available



Access to the Julian Rose House is courtesy Donna and Brian Seidler.