AGM Glass Factory

Site Overview

site name:
former AGM Glass Factory
architect(s):
Stephenson & Turner, Mackeller and Partidge or possibly by Mitchell Henry Potter, AGM Company Engineer.
date of completion:
1940
address:
Lachlan Street crn South Dowling Street, Waterloo, NSW
classification/typology:
Industrial (IND)
protection status:
NSW Heritage, Docomomo

Description

ACI Site Group includes: Storage building façade – two storey Inter-War Functionalist style, c. 1939; AGM Building – four storey Inter-War Functionalist Industrial building with six storey Art Deco tower motif, c. 1938; Administrative Offices – two storey Inter-War Free Classical style commercial building, c. 1936-1940; Grissell Building, c. 1855-1860; Power House Complex, including brick chimney, c. 1937-1950, remnant machinery and site archaeological features from c. 1900 onwards.

The ACI Administration Building, built between 1938 and 1940, is of aesthetic significance as an interesting example of Inter-War Free Classical style architecture. As part of the former ACI site, the building shows the consideration given by the company to its public face. Its quality of construction and interior detailing reflect the important role of the company executives. The ACI site and remnant elements have historic significance for their assocation with glass manufacturing in Australia and as a typical large scale twentieth century industrial site.

DESCRIPTION: two storey Inter-War Free Classical style commercial building, c. 1936-1940, by Mackeller and Partidge or possibly by Mitchell Henry Potter, AGM Company Engineer. Reinforced concrete framed with brick perimeter walls. The building is rectangular with a gabled red corrugated colorbond roof, and brick gable ends to east and west. The building is set back from South Dowling Street. A central entry porch facing South Dowling Street is protected by a cement-rendered hood. Windows are generally 12-paned double hung timber framed placed between engaged piers. The eaves are treated as a simple entablature with the gutter as the cornice. The first floor executive offices were originally partitioned with timber veneer panelling.

AGM Building: The AGM Building is of aesthetic significance as a highly intact outstanding example of a landmark industrial building of the Interwar Functionalist style. It “was regarded as the architectural flagship of the Company as the building encompassed a modern stylishness and efficient image.” (Godden Mackay Logan) It is an unusual type in its precinct. It has group value as part of the former ACI glass manufacturing plant. The context of the building has been retained. The AGM Building has historical significance as part of the former ACI/former AGM site for its association with glass manufacturing in Australia.

DESCRIPTION: four storey Inter-War Functionalist Industrial building with six storey Art Deco tower motif, that addresses South Dowling Street, c. 1938, attributed to Stephenson & Turner, possibly by Mitchell Henry Potter, AGM Company Engineer. The Art Deco tower motif emphasises the factory entrance and vertical moverment through the building. The wall is curved around the corner of South Dowling and Lachlan Streets.

The building is part of a group on a wide corner site with no side and front setbacks. The building has retained its context which dates form a later period than the key period of significance. The building exterior appears to be in average condition. It is characterised by a flat roof above a rendered brick façade which features an appropriate metal awning, windows and glass blocks. The interior plan is essentially retained and features a glass block stair with open steel balustrade and glass partitioning, ribbed glass laboratory equipment, parquetry flooring, original light fittings to north stairwell.

Grissell Building: The Grissell Building (c. 1855-1860) is an extraordinarily rare and important example of early industrial architecture in Australia. No other nineteenth century prefabricated building can be compared directly to the Grissell Building in form or detailing. Its integrity and rarity are evident in the customised sophisticated iron structure produced by Henry & M.D. Grissell. It is one of only two known surviving examples in the world of this prominent London ironfounder’s work. Also of historical significance for its association with glass manufacturing at the former ACI site.

DESCRIPTION: c. 1855-1860 by H. & M.D. Grissell, Regents Canal Iron Works, London. Originally a triple-compartment building of “nave” and two “aisles”. One “aisle” has been removed and the other had its roof trusses removed and the row of columns incorporated into the brick wall of a later building on the ACI site. With the redevelopment of the former ACI site by Meriton from 2001, the Grissell was dismantled and placed in storage. The conditions of development consent require the Grissell building to be reassembled.

Brick Chimney: Historically significant as the only remaining structure of the powerhouse complex which was part of the former ACI/former AGM site. Significant for its assocation with glass manufacturing in Australia. Of aesthetic significance as a representative industrial chimney of the interwar period, and as a landmark structure.

Part of the Power House Complex, c. 1937-1950. A tapered brick chimney with moulded detailing at the top, part of former powerhouse group. Now a landmark amongst modern multistorey residential development, set within a new park.

Storage Building Façade: The façade has significance as an important element of the one of the largest industrial developments in the southern Sydney area, and at its peak the largest glass manufacturer in Australia. The façade was designed to complement the former AGM building. The façade makes a positive contribution to the streetscape and forms an integral part of the identification of a landmark site on a major arterial road. The façade relates to a key period in the development of the former ACI site. The façade is also of aesthetic and associational significance due to the design by prominent architects of the period Stephenson and Turner who had a long association with the ACI company and the site.

Two storey Inter-War Functionalist style, c. 1939, by Stephenson & Turner. A former warehouse building with a rendered brick façade and metal windows with horizontal emphasis. The roof is screened by a parapet wall, and was originally of saw-toothed form with clerestorey windows.

Remnant Machinery: Historically significant as the only remaining industrial machinery from the powerhouse complex which was part of the former ACI/former AGM site. Significant for its assocation with glass manufacturing in Australia. The machinery collection are examples of the best-quality technology of their period and as a collection have high interpretive and educational value.

Glass Manufacturing began in Victoria at the Melbourne Glass Bottle Works in 1872, a company that was established by two pharmacists – Alfred Felton, and Fredrick Sheppard Grimwade. The company moved soon afterwards to Spotswood and in 1916 amalgamated into Australian Glass Manufacturers (AGM), which became the foundation of glass bottle manufacturing in Australia and New Zealand. In 1939 the company changed its name to Australian Consolidated Industries (ACI). In 1998 ACI Packaging was acquired by Owens-Illinois Inc (O-I).

Source: NSW Heritage Database

Former AGM Factory
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