The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia, "for the purpose of according recognition to Australian citizens and other persons for achievement or for meritorious service"...
(1925 – 1 May 2005, Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
) was an Australian architect
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the...
, mayor of Woollahra, writer
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...
and architectural activist. He is regarded to have exerted a decisive influence on Sydney’s architecture mostly through his unique dedication to design architecture that reacts to the landscape and to the needs of the client.
Gruzman was born in Sydney, Australia. His parents—Sam Gruzman and Rosalind Gunzburg—were of Russian origin. He was the middle son, with Laurence, the eldest and Des, the youngest. His childhood near Cooper Park, Bellevue Hill
Bellevue Hill is an eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Bellevue Hill is an affluent suburb, located 5 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Woollahra....
, exerted a certain influence on him regarding his attitude towards landscape. He initially intended to fulfill his mother’s wish to study medicine but enrolled for architecture after graduating from Boy′s High School.
In the late 1940s he entered the University of Sydney, where Beaux Arts
was a main subject. The first three years of his studyings were difficult for him as he wasn’t good in drawing. However, he profited from his work experiences. He developed an interest in ballrooms, particularly mirrors and reflections, and won some skills with glamorous decoration from an interior decorator, Margaret Jaye. In his fourth year at university, he was attracted to the European Modernists, who influenced and furthered him. Before he graduated, he designed the Lapin House
, Rose Bay for his aunt. He graduated in 1952 and traveled to Europe with other graduates. Returning to Australia, he opened an office with Bill
Bill Lucas was an Australian architect known well for the houses he designed along the Bulwark in Castlecrag, Sydney, in particular, the Glass House...
and Ruth Lucas. He read the work Architectural Beauty in Japan
and was deeply attracted by wafer thin concrete roofs, screen glazing and floating upstands sitting over the garden. Therefore, he traveled to Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
for a four-and-a-half-months studying visit—a journey that would be followed by numerous others to the country. Later, Gruzman was amazed by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...
. His understanding of the aspects of planning and of the necessities of an ongoing development grew decisively, in this period. In about 1967, he devoted himself to teaching; he is reported to have reassured his students attended the classes, regularly, and to have renounced holidays to provide extra tutorials for his students. He also participated in politics, to improve the quality of built environment.
Gruzman had a poor health. He suffered from asthma and heart attacks but managed to recover. He also had an accident that led to brain surgery causing the loss of most of his memories, including door dimensions, which he most attentively relearned.
Gruzman mostly built residential houses in Sydney. His works are varied forms of Modernism known as Organic Modernism, or Regionalism
Regionalism is an American realist modern art movement that was popular during the 1930s. The artistic focus was from artists who shunned city life, and rapidly developing technological advances, to create scenes of rural life...
; some show a strong influence by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright. The impressions exerted on him on his trips to Japan—mainly by the traditional post and beam
Post and lintel, or in contemporary usage Post and beam, is a simple construction method using a lintel, header, or architrave as the horizontal member over a building void supported at its ends by two vertical columns, pillars, or posts...
architecture he saw at places like Katsura Imperial Villa
The , or Katsura Detached Palace, is a villa with associated gardens and outbuildings in the western suburbs of Kyoto, Japan...
—influenced some of the homes he created and into which he eventually included Japanese elements (Goodman House
, Middle Cove). In the 1960s Gruzman gained recognition for private homes built for wealthy and sometimes eccentric clients along Sydney's north shore, such as the Hill's House
(1966), designed for a nudist and the "theatrical" Holland House
(1962), built for an actress, who would both delight and scare her guests by dancing on the house's rail-less balcony hanging over a cliff-face. His work has been described as "major gestures, very Hollywood glamour."
Gruzman’s architectural principles included maximum exposure to sunlight and privacy visually and audibly.
Gruzman is loosely connected to the "Sydney School" of architects of the 1950s and 1960s—a movement that started in opposition to the International Style
The International style is a major architectural style that emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, the formative decades of Modern architecture. The term originated from the name of a book by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, The International Style...
of modernism supported by other Australian architects and that has recently been re-discovered by home buyers and architectural fans, leading to a trend to preserve the homes from the period. However, Gruzman's work deviates from the Sydney School style in important traits; Gruzman himself denied a connection to the movement.
- Hills House, Turramurra
Turramurra is a suburb on the Upper North Shore of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Turramurra is located north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of Ku-ring-gai Council...
, New South Wales (1966, 1983)
Original client was Sam Rosenburg, a nudist and vegetarian. Gruzman’s idea was to build a series of hills that surround the site on three sides making it visually and acoustically private. Later, expansion was added for new clients, a family with three children. The building is referred to by Philip Goad
Professor Philip Goad is an Australian academic, currently serving as Professor of Architecture and Deputy Dean in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne...
as a product of two iconic 20th-century houses (Wright’s Fallingwater
Fallingwater or Kaufmann Residence is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh...
and Mies van der Rohe’s
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German architect. He is commonly referred to and addressed as Mies, his surname....
Farnsworth House) that created the ultimate diagram of abstract shelter in the landscape.
- Gruzman House, Darling Point
Darling Point is a harbourside, eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Darling Point is located 4 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of Woollahra Council....
, New South Wales (1958, 1965, 1995)
Gruzman’s own house is a hidden sanctuary, entirely private and distant from noise (Philip Goad). The living area was joyous, with its classical organic interior embellished with a collection of paintings, sculpture, and porcelain. Jørn Utzon
Jørn Oberg Utzon, , AC was a Danish architect, most notable for designing the Sydney Opera House in Australia. When it was declared a World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime...
has judged that the house possessed the best living room
A living room, also known as sitting room, lounge room or lounge , is a room for entertaining adult guests, reading, or other activities...
in Australia.Another focus point is Gruzman’s wife’s dressing room with infinite light reflections from the mirrors on the walls on all four sides and on the ceiling.
- Goodman House, Middle Cove
Middle Cove is a suburb on the Lower North Shore of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Middle Cove is located 7 kilometres north of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Willoughby....
, New South Wales (1956–57, 1983)
Designed for a couple soon after Gruzman′s Japan trip, ideas of traditional Japanese architecture are infused in the design. Such as the entry to the pagoda
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...
-like end of the house and a sweeping curved roof suspended by cables. It is one of the early houses in Sydney to use materials such as dark stained timbers and natural brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...
- Lapin House, Rose Bay, New South Wales (1949–52)
- Montrose Apartments, Neutral Bay, New South Wales (1954–55)
- Purnell Motors Pty Ltd, Arncliffe, New South Wales (1955)
- South Head Synagogue, Rose Bay, New South Wales (1957)
- Benjamin House, Longueville, New South Wales (1959)
- Salz House, Mosman, New South Wales (1960)
- Fogl Medical Centre, Gladesville, New South Wales (1961)
- Holland House, Middle Cove, New South Wales (1961)
- Lend Lease Corporation Houses, Carlingford, New South Wales (1961–62)
- Long House, Dolls Point, New South Wales (1962–1964)
- Rudy Komon Art Gallery, Paddington, New South Wales (1963–64)
- Probert House, St Ives, New South Wales (1957–58, 1966)
- Gregory & Carr Funeral Chapel, Mona Vale, New South Wales (1968)
- Gaden House, Double Bay, New South Wales (1968)
- Gowing House, Castlecrag, New South Wales (1969)
- Healey House, Hunters Hill, New South Wales (1972)
- McHollick House, Paddington, New South Wales (1974)
- Chadwick House, Forestville, New South Wales (1961–64, 1968, 1976)
- Thorpe House, Palm Beach, New South Wales (1978)
- Hamilton House, Bilgola Beach, New South Wales (1979)
In the 1980s Gruzman formed the Save East Circular Quay committee to protect the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957...
from nearby urban development.
In the 1990s Gruzman became politically active and was elected first as a councillor and then mayor of Woollahra
Woollahra is a suburb in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Woollahra is located 5 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Woollahra. The Municipality of Woollahra takes its name from the...
, on a platform for responsible urban development. He was a very passionate and outspoken critic of urban planning in Sydney, and also Sydney architects, notably Harry Seidler
Harry Seidler, AC OBE was an Austrian-born Australian architect who is considered to be one of the leading exponents of Modernism's methodology in Australia and the first architect to fully express the principles of the Bauhaus in Australia.Harry Seidler designed more than 180 buildings and he...
. Both his architectural criticism and time as mayor were controversial.
Career as a teacher
Gruzman began teaching at the University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...
in the 1960s with a number of contemporary modernist architects such as Bill Lucas and Harry Howard
Harry Howard is the name of:* Harry Howard , English footballer* Harry Howard , Australian landscape architect* Harry Howard , Australian bass guitarist-See also:...
. He became an Adjunct Professor and, as a critic of shortening teaching hours and increasing class size, was known for using Saturdays and public holidays to give extra classes to his students at his own home. In 2002 he established two student awards at the Faculty of the Built Environment
The term built environment refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from personal shelter and buildings to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply or energy networks.The built...
, both for the best use of urban design
Urban design concerns the arrangement, appearance and functionality of towns and cities, and in particular the shaping and uses of urban public space. It has traditionally been regarded as a disciplinary subset of urban planning, landscape architecture, or architecture and in more recent times has...
in architecture. In his studio practise, beginning from the 1950s, he also employed and trained many notable Sydney architects, including Pritzker Prize
The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually by the Hyatt Foundation to honour "a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built...
winner Glenn Murcutt
Glenn Marcus Murcutt AO is a British-born Australian architect and winner of the 2002 Pritzker Prize and 2009 AIA Gold Medal.-Biography:...
Portrait and Memoirs
In 1970, Gruzman was the subject of the winning entry to the Archibald Prize
The Archibald Prize is regarded as the most important portraiture prize in Australia. It was first awarded in 1921 after a bequest from J. F. Archibald, the editor of The Bulletin who died in 1919...
, painted by Eric Smith
Eric John Smith is an award-winning Australian artist. Smith has won many of Australia's major art prizes multiple times including the Archibald Prize for portraiture three times; the Wynne Prize twice; the Sulman Prize three times; and the Blake Prize for Religious Art six times.-Life and...
. Gruzman sat for Smith several times, and commissioned Smith to contribute mozaics and stained glass for buildings he designed, including the South Head and District Synagogue in Rose Bay, as well as paintings Smith produced for the houses of his clients.
Most of Gruzman's houses were photographed by Max Dupain
Maxwell Spencer Dupain AC was a renowned Australian modernist photographer.-Early life:Dupain received his first camera as a gift in 1924, spurring his interest in photography He later joined the Photographic Society of NSW, and when he left school, he worked for Cecil Bostock in Sydney.-Early...
and David Moore
David Moore was an Australian photojournalist.Moore was educated at Geelong Grammar School. He began his career in the studio of Russell Roberts in Sydney, moving on to work with Max Dupain soon after...
Gruzman's memoirs, incorporated into a book written by Philip Goad and featuring many of the Dupain and Moore photographs, was published posthumously in 2006 by Thames and Hudson.
The Margot and Neville Gruzman Award for Urban Design in Architecture
was named after Gruzman due to his commitment in teaching at the University of New South Wales.