The Torin Building Swindon – and there’s a reason that I’ve specified Swindon here. It’s because our Torin building has a sister building of sorts in Brussels, Belgium. And I’ll return to that later.
From the Marcel Breuer digital archive we can glean, on the topic of the Torin corporation in Swindon what follows.
The Torin Corporation (the erstwhile Torrington Manufacturing Company- produced air-moving equipment. (Fans to you and me I imagine.) The company had its HQ in Torrington, Connecticut. In 1965 the company asked renowned Hungarian architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) and his associate, Robert Gatje, to design a facility for their British division on Swindon’s Greenbridge industrial estate.
The company planned to use the recently completed facility in Nivelles, Brussels as a model – both in plan and constructions techniques. But – the modular, precast concrete panels used to such striking effect in Brussels turned out to be cost-prohibitive in England.
Instead, the designers sheathed most of the facades in vertical, white aluminium with brick accents around doors and windows. The entrance façade featured a cantilevered canopy – like most of the other Torin buildings – projecting from a black brick façade. A horizontal strip of windows bisected the façade, lining up with the bottom edge of the canopy. Breuer provided a splash of colour by painting the structural steel and mechanical elements on the roof red-orange. Frishman-Spyer Associates served as the supervising architects for this project.
As you can see from the image, the company is now called Torin-Sifan. In 2015, as reported here, the company invested over £2m in a new facility at Swindon’s Pagoda Park and celebrated its 50th anniversary in Swindon.
‘Its expansion with the opening of the EC Manufacturing and Technology Centre follows five decades of manufacturing in Swindon with the new facility allowing the company to increase EC production by over 20%, whilst continuing with the manufacture of its traditional product ranges at its existing Greenbridge HQ.’
Managing director Neil Sproston said: ‘As we celebrate 50 years of British manufacturing and innovation, we are delighted to open a world-class manufacturing centre here in Swindon.’
For the other posts in this Swindon in 50 More Buildings series go here.
The Brussels bit
As it happens I have a niece in Brussels so I got her onto the case. She managed to get for me, via a sort of tourist information office a few images.
The Torrington factory over in continental Europe is, at the moment, Sabert Europe – a sustainable food packaging and tableware company.
The kind people in Brussels also sent my niece a PDF brochure taken from the catalogue of an exhibition at the Atomium that ran from December 16, 2011 to April 15, 2012. Called ‘958 – 1980 Facades en concret / Betongevels / concrete walls most of it is in French. Quelle Surprise! Aside from what’s below.