Thursday, 30 Nov 2023

Proposal to heritage list Seidlers only religious building

A Sydney council has submitted a proposal to heritage list Harry Seidler's only religious building.


Proposal to heritage list Seidlers only religious building

A Sydney council has submitted a proposal to heritage list Harry Seidler's only religious building.

The former Sydney Talmudical School is at risk of demolition after the NSW Department of Planning and Environment provided provisional gateway approval to rezone the site from educational establishment to medium-density residential.

Waverley Council applied in February 2023 for an interim heritage order, which allowed the council to conduct independent heritage assessment of the site.

The former Sydney Talmudical College at 34-36 Flood Street, Bondi, is distinctive for its nine long bays of semicircular barrel vaults, which span more than 15 metres across the interior of the synagogue and are only 7.6 centimetres thick. The vaults shape a series of clerestory windows, allowing light in from the north. The overhang of the vaults casts distinctive shadows on the northern facade. The entry forecourt of the synagogue contains a semicircular drum, which surrounds a stairway on the inside.

Heritage assessment carried out by Hector Abrahams Architects found the site to be "a seminal work in the civic and sculptural concrete architecture of the pre-eminent Australian modern architect Harry Seidler, displaying the application of Bauhaus principles for which he is known."

The building is also "the largest and best example of thin concrete shell technology of the 1950s in NSW," the heritage assessment report stated, and it is also "one of the most architecturally distinguished religious chambers of the immediate post-war period in NSW and one of the finest synagogues of the period."

Waverley council said the building is worthy of local heritage listing. The heritage assessment also found it met several criteria for state heritage listing.

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