I have the honor to present Mr. Harry Seidler, O.B.E., M. Arch.
Mr. Seidler was born in Vienna, Austria, and was educated at the Wasagymnasium in that city from 1932 to 1938. He entered the University of Manitoba in 1941 and graduated with first class honours in Architecture in 1944. He then entered Harvard with a scholarship, and left with a Masters degree in Architecture in 1946. He served as chief assistant to Marcel Breuer in New York from 1946 to 1948, and then briefly for Osca Niemeyer in Rio di Janeiro before commencing private practice as Principal of Harry Seidler and Associates in Sydney, Australia in 1949.
Since that time, Mr. Seidler has achieved a deservedly world-wide reputation, and has won many awards and honours for his buildings, beginning with his very first houses in Turramurra, New South Wales, which have been widely published in Australia and internationally.
A practice in houses for private clients evolved into one occupied largely with apartment, institutional, and office buildings. Some of the more notable of these are Australia Square, Sydney's first major inner city redevelopment, covering a whole block, built in the 1960s; the Trade Group Offices, Canberra, and the 68-storey MLC Centre, Sydney, both built in the early 1970s; the Australian Embassy, Paris in the mid-1970s; the Hong Kong Club and Office Building, and the 46-storey Grosvenor Place Development, Sydney, both built in the early 1980s and both remarkable for their distinctive curvilinear geometry; and more recently, the three 1-storey City Mutual Building, Sydney and the 50-storey Landmark Tower, Brisbane, both noticeable in different ways for their expressive, "fresh", contemporary architecture.
Mr. Seidler's list of awards is considerable and extends over many years. They begin with the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Sir John Sulman Medal in 1951, continue with the same Institute's awards for specific buildings in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 and 1972. During this time Mr. Seidler was made an Honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1966, became an Officer, Order of the British Empire in 1972, and then from his own Royal Australian Institute received its Gold Medal in 1976. Yet further awards for particular buildings came in 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982, the year when he also became the first Australian Member of the Academic d’Architecture in Paris. Further awards have continued to be bestowed.
Mr. Seidler has been a Visiting Professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 1976-77, at the University of British Columbia, 1978; at the University of Virginia also in 1978; at the University of New South Wales in 1980; and at the University of Sydney in 1984. He has been.a guest lecturer at many universities and institutes in the United States and Canada, and in Paris, London and Budapest.
Mr. Seidler has played a significant role both in the establishment of modern architecture in Australia and in its extension internationally. He could indeed be described in this, our Faculty of Architecture's 75th anniversary year, as one of its most distinguished graduates.
Mr. Chancellor, it is my privilege to ask, in the name of the Senate of The University of Manitoba, that you now confer on Harry Seidler the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
-citation delivered by Arnold Naimark, President, University of Manitoba