Award for architect of tallest building Architecture medal for tower bu ilder

Harry Seidler is one of only a few Australian architects known beyond professional circles outside the Antipodes. Yesterday it was announced he was the recipient of this year's prestigious Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, chosen on the Queen's behalf by the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Seidler, an Austrian by birth, has built many tall, tough concrete office towers of great structural rigour but little inherent beauty over the past 30 years. But his latest design, a 500-metre high skyscraper in Melbourne, will be the world's tallest building.

The Grolo Tower is the pinnacle of a 50-year career. Seidler came to Britain from Vienna before the outbreak of the Second World War, but was interned. He sailed to Canada where he began his studies, moving to Harvard where he was taught by the former Bauhaus masters Walter Gropius and Joseph Albers.

On graduation he went to work as chief assistant to the Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer in New York. Most of his work has been in Australia.

Seidler is at present working on a "self-contained community" on the banks of the Danube outside Vienna: 60 years on, he has returned home.