Hungarian architect Laurence Tibor Rayner (1911–2007) emigrated to Australia in 1939. From 1950 to 1957 he lived in Melbourne, where he played a key role in the design of the 1956 Olympic Games infrastructure, before returning to Sydney.

Rayner’s best-known Sydney project is the four-level Baxter apartments he built for himself at 85 Drumalbyn Road, Bellevue Hill (1958). Hugging an extremely steep site overlooking the harbour, Rayner’s design supports expressed concrete floor slabs on slender steel columns; the projecting external edge of each slab is tapered to give the impression of wafer-thin concrete. Although the building is fully glazed, with panoramic views from the curved ship-like main facade, coloured spandrel panels provide privacy.

Posted by:Rebecca Hawcroft

Researcher of architecture and design history, Rebecca curated the 2017 Museum of Sydney exhibition The Moderns: European designers in Sydney and edited the book The Other Moderns (New South Press, 2017)

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