Igloo House, The | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Igloo House, The

Item details

Name of item: Igloo House, The
Other name/s: Williamson House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: House
Location: Lat: -33.8110767396 Long: 151.2466679990
Primary address: 65 Parriwi Road, Mosman, NSW 2088
Parish: Willoughby
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Mosman
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT17 DP71366
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
65 Parriwi RoadMosmanMosmanWilloughbyCumberlandPrimary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated

Statement of significance:

Igloo House, dating from 1951, is of State aesthetic significance as an important early example of modern house design in Australia, which is innovative in its use of structural technology. It is significant for its association with its designer, leading Australian architect Harry Seidler, who had been a teenage refugee from Nazi oppression in the 1930s and who had trained as an architect in Canada before coming to Australia in 1948 to design a house for his immigrant parents. Igloo House is thus also a demonstration of the contribution of immigrant culture to Australia.
Date significance updated: 21 Jul 11
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Harry Seidler
Builder/Maker: G.L. Williamson
Construction years: 1952-1953
Physical description: Unusual twin-arched garages and light concrete body set on poles on the waterfront cliff. It was designed by Harry Seidler in 1951. A distinguishing characteristic is a double-arched garage roof offset against a concrete wall, with a backdrop looking towards Sydney Heads. The first Australian house to use flat-slab construction, with special concrete developed by a Sydney engineer, Peter Miller, that did away with heavy foundations. The house has been subject to several alterations since construction.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physcial condition is good.
Date condition updated:01 Nov 02
Modifications and dates: Modifications - probably mainly undertaken in 1970s:
Garage doors and glass panels replaced with painted timber walls.
Sun deck enclosed with metal roof.
Wrought iron bars on street-front (west) strip windows.
Replacement of entrance area railings.
Bronze-frame window on north replaced.
New enclosed floor added under house.
Bronze sliding doors on east front replaced and glazing relocated to outer edge.
Window cleaning gantry on east front.
Repainted from original colours.
Swimming pool and cabana built on lower part of site.
(Weirick 2001)
Current use: Dwelling
Former use: Dwelling


Historical notes: The site was purchased by George Laurence Williamson, a solicitor who emigrated from Britain in the late 1940s. In 1951 he commissioned the design from the innovative immigrant architect, Harry Seidler. The innovative engineering design, utilising concrete slabs on piers, was undertaken by Peter Owen Miller. The house was built in 1952-1953 by Williamson as owner-builder using various tradesmen. Outfitting of the house appeared to continue for some time after this. Williamson sold the house in 1970 and subsequent owners have modified it since then, though retaining the basic structures. (Weirick 2001)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
As a fine and technologically innovative example of modern architectural design, Igloo House is of historical significance for its contribution to post-war architectural culture in Australia.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with Harry Seidler, its designer, who had been a teenage refugee from Nazi oppression in the 1930s and who had trained as an architect in Canada before coming to Australia in 1948 to design a house for his immigrant parents. Seidler, who remained in Austraila and became one of the country's leading and most infleuntial architects, demonstrates the contribution of immigrant culture to Australia.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Igloo House is of aesthetic significance as an outstanding technical and design achievement, as an iconic example of modern architecture in Australia.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The item is a significant technological benchmark.
SHR Criteria f)
The item is rare and highly regarded as an influential example in Australia of innvative domestic design and construction.
SHR Criteria g)
The item is representative of a innovative, modern approach to the design of domestic architecture in Australia after World War II.
Integrity/Intactness: Mostly intact, with modifications.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0165201 Nov 02 2019414
Heritage Act - Interim Heritage Order - Lapsed 0004102 Mar 01 481149

References, internet links & images


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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045139
File number: H00/00503

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