Hugo Stossel was born 4 September 1905 in Barczanfalva, Hungary (now Barsana, Romania), moving when young with his family to the Hungarian capital, Budapest. On completing secondary school in Budapest he spent a year in Braunschweig, Germany, studying
chemistry in preparation for joining his father's conserve (jam) manufacturing business, before going to Rome in 1926/1927 to study architecture. Returning to Budapest he found clerical work with Feher & Danos, a large construction company. From 1928 to 1932 he studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, graduating with a diploma of Engineering in Architecture.
From 1933 to 1938 Stossel worked as an architect in Bucharest, designing theatre interiors, apartment blocks and commercial buildings. Stossel left Europe on the eve of World War II, arriving in Sydney on the P&O ship Strathaird in June 1939.
During the war he worked as a manager for Cody & Willis, a Glebe-based construction firm working mostly on government contracts. He estimated and supervised housing projects, aerodrome structures, an abattoir and other buildings in Canberra; radar towers, engineering shops at Cockatoo Island, cargo lighters and berthing fenders for the Captain Cook Dock in Sydney; and country jobs including RAAF stations in Darwin, Townsville and Brisbane; the Hay Internment camp; and sewerage treatment works.
Stossel also did some private work in the early 1940s including small blocks of flats in Cammeray for fellow refugees from war-town Europe. At the end of the war he was involved in a pioneering housing project, designing pre-fabricated steel houses for Arcos Electric and Arc Welding Products. A prototype, erected in William Street Ryde in January 1946, was featured in a Cinesound newsreel.
Stossel became a naturalised Australian citizen in 1945 and in February 1946 applied for registration as an architect in NSW. In support of his application he listed several of the large projects that he undertaken in Bucharest, enclosing photographs and related letters of reference. These photographs and letters form part A of the Stossel collection.
Stossel's architectural work in the late 1940s and early 1950s included both residential and industrial buildings, including a number of modernist houses which were published in the popular and architectural press as well as St Ursula, an 'ultra-modern' home-unit block with a curved curtain-wall of floor to ceiling steel-framed windows. (ref. Building, 24 May 1951 p.91)
Apartment blocks in Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Darling Point formed a significant part of Stossel's work in the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s. 'H. Stossel architect' became 'H. Stossel and Associates' in 1961 and finally 'H. Stossel and Partners' in 1972 and the firm was responsible for several notable commercial buildings in Sydney. In his latter years Stossel lived in Vienna, Italy and England. He died at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in February 2002, aged 96. Refs: National Archives of Australia: Immigration and naturalisation files; NSW Architects Registration Board, Stossel file; Paul Georgiades Modernism in post-war Sydney: three houses by Hugo Stossel
B.Arch dissertation, University of Technology, 1992 [MM, August 2020]