Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain,
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P05077.001
Collection Photograph
Object type Black & white - Print silver gelatin
Photographer Polyfoto
Date made 1940


Studio portrait of Emil Lawrence Sodersten. Of Swedish descent, Emil Lawrence Sodersteen was born in Sydney NSW, on 31 August 1900 and was educated at the School of Architecture, Sydney Technical College and at the University of Sydney under the foundation professor of architecture, Leslie Wilkinson. He changed the spelling of his name from Sodersteen to to Sodersten by deed poll in 1943. A very successful architect, he established his own practice in 1925 in Sydney. In the same year he closed his offices to prepare a set of drawings for the international competition to design a national war museum, the Australian War Memorial, in Canberra. He prepared 17 complete schemes. The two winning designs for the War Memorial were chosen; no 41 by fellow architect John Crust, which was praised for being 'frugal and ingenious' and no 52 by Emil Sodersten, which although above the 250,000 pound proposed budget for the Memorial, was considered 'exceptionally restrained and expressive of the purpose of the building'. The winning architects were asked to collaborate on a new, fresh design which was presented in 1927. The building of the War Memorial was delayed until 1938 and was officially opened in November 1941. In 1942 Sodersten enlisted in the RAAF, serving in New Guinea as a Flight Lieutenant with No 13 Survey and Design Unit, and was discharged on 7 September 1945. After the Second World War he designed fewer buildings, but was one of the leading Australian architects working in the Art Deco style.