Nature’s Best water manufacturing facility is located in the former “Torin Building.”

      Marcel Breuer's only Australian Building Finds New Owner

The 3,800-square-metre factory building in Penrith, western Sydney, was designed for Torin, a manufacturer of air-moving equipment for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning.

The unassuming building is the Hungarian-born, American modernist architect’s only Australian project.

Completed in 1976, the factory was designed in collaboration with Harry Seidler, who acted as the on-site supervisor, and Bruce Rickard as landscape architect. Seidler was Breuer’s chief assistant from 1946 to 1948. The two also collaborated on the Australian Embassy in Paris (1977) with Italian architect Pier Luigi Nervi.

The factory is one of nine Breuer designed for the Torin Corporation, which are located mostly in North America, with one in Belgium and one in England. A tenth building was completed by Breuer’s practice after his retirement.

The building it is listed in the Australian Institute of Architects’ register of significant buildings in NSW and was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register in 2009.

According to its statement of significance, “The Torin building in Coombes Drive Penrith differs from the early Torin Corporation buildings which were more classically gridded modernist work. The Australian example is a strong expression of the powerful sculptural mode of Breuer’s later career.

Commercial Realestate reports the building was sold to private investor and real estate agent Luke Jackson said the new owner plans to use the site for “traditional industrial use.”

The heritage-significant former Torin fan factory at 26 Coombes Drive, Penrith, is the only Marcel Breuer building in the country

Built for only about $5 million at the time, it was “really overengineered,” said the building’s current owner, Warren Peffer.

He meant it as a compliment. The building has features you would not expect from the 1970s, such as a sprinkler system, with a back-up pump in case the first failed.

Mr. Peffer did not know anything about the architecture — described as “Egyptian” by the Australian Institute of Architects — when he bought it last year. But the building had everything his company needed, and will last decades. “It’ll see me out,” he said.

Statement of significance:

The former Torin building is of State heritage significance as a rare and intact example of a Late Twentieth Century Modernist style industrial building designed by internationally acclaimed master architect Marcel Breuer. It is the only Marcel Breuer building in NSW and Australia and is one of a suite of buildings specifically designed for the Torin Corporation located throughout Europe, Canada and the United States.The Torin building in Penrith was the last of 9 buildings designed for the Torin Corporation by Marcel Breuer and the the form and design inclusions of this building had evolved from the visual and technical experience of the Torin Corporation buildings preceding it.The Torin building in Coombes Drive Penrith differs from the early Torin Corporation buildings which were more classically gridded modernist work. The Australian example is a strong expression of the powerful scupltural mode of Breuer's later career. (letter from Barry Bergdoll, Curator in Chief, Architecture and Design, MOMA)

Marcel Breuer gained a stellar international reputation early in his career while studying and teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau in the 1920s. It was here that he designed the famous Wassily chair among other achievements. He later joined the also famous Walter Gropius in partnership and continued to develop his architecture which by the later years "illustrat[ed] the cubist sensibility of this sculptor architect " and gained him the reputation as "one of the most important form givers of our time" (IM Pei, Marcel Breuer A Memoir).

The Torin building in Penrith is a fine example of Breuer's Torin Corporation architecture and the principles of his modernist design work where form is primarily determined by function. Like other of the Torin Corporation's small scale industrial buildings, the Torin building in Penrith is a good example of the way in which Breuer's design raised his buildings to a new modernist aesthetic level which ensured there was economy in plan form, bold architonic expression and the repetition of industrial elements as either extruded serctions or pre-cast elements. The architectural elements and sculptural aspects of the external facade are still in place and the internal and external fittings remain in situ.