Sydney / Penrith Torin Building in the Breuer Archive

The Marcel Breuer Digital Archive has published a large number or resources concerning the Former Building of the Torin Corporation in Penrith, designed by Breuer in 1973-4.

 

 

(From the DA Fiche) 

The RAIA listing for the former Torin Building noted that:

The Torin Corporation factory at Penrith was built within an industrial estate to the north of the town centre. A high tension electrical reticulation easement cuts diagonally across the site but the placing of the building near the intersection of two streets avoids any conflict. Car access is from one street, trucking from the other.

Buildings in the area are widely spaced and there are no special elements that would affect the outlook or disposition of the building on the site. The main elevation is bold in its architectural composition consisting of Egyptian-like cuboid elements in front of a long rectangular monolithic form. The plan and mass of the building was the outcome of its integrated handling system consisting of storage, retrieval and reassembling.

The Torin Corporation manufactured a wide range of blower units and axial and centrifugal impellers for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. Many of the products were also manufactured in Torin’s ten other factories throughout the world. In these locations it had been recognised that, as labour costs rose, the materials handling activity became an important candidate for automation. Therefore, an integrated handling system was developed that dictated the basic shape of the 3,800 square metre Penrith factory. The building consisted of three basic components; a high rise storage unit containing the integrated handling system; a basic two-floor structure which contains manufacturing, assembly and office areas, as well as a well equipped laboratory for airflow measurement and two service cores three storeys high, but of the same total height as the two manufacturing storeys. These cores project from the facade free of the manufacturing space. One module provided an entrance for plant employees and support facilities: toilets, locker rooms and stairs.

The other contained an entrance for visitors and office personnel, and mechanical space, toilets and stairs. Access to the high rise storage unit was provided at both manufacturing levels. The multitude of components required in the manufacturing process were moved in and out of the 20metre high storage system by a single rail-guided vehicle as the various manufacturing operations were performed. Because processing lines were adjacent to container racking on both floors, load distances were very short. Once positioned in a pick-up station, loads could be moved by a storage vehicle for weight check and storage in less than a quarter of the time expected of a conventional fork-lift truck. Storage was accessible only to a special vehicle. This ensured parts, quantity and location integrity and eliminated the shutdown usually required for the taking of inventory.

Materials and structural system

All walls of the complete steel framed structure, except the north/south walls are of concrete block, cavity wall construction, the outer skin consisting of split-face block. Office areas and the lower floor manufacturing areas included precast concrete window units similar to those first developed by the architects for the Torin Technical Centre in Torrington, Connecticut, USA in 1971. These units in all cases faced north and were designed to provide adequate sun shade.

 

Docomomo Australia Fiche on the Torin Building:

Current name of the building: FORMER TORIN BUILDING
Town: PENRITH, SYDNEY
Design by: MARCEL BREUER AND HIS PARTNER HERBERT BECKHARD IN ASSOCIATION WITH HARRY SEIDLER & ASSOCIATES.
Date: 1974-76
Type: FACTORY
Editor fiche: Noni Boyd
Download DA fiche: Torin Building – (Pdf)