FROM THE ASHES
The Willoughby Incinerator building was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and completed in 1934. This incinerator is a remarkable piece of early Australian Industrial heritage. Designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Eric Nicholls, the building is sited at the edge of what is now the Willoughby Centennial Parklands. In 1967 the incinerator was switched off, and the building lay dormant until undergoing adaptive reuse works in the early 1980’s to convert the building first into a restaurant and then a small office building.
Walter Burley Griffin has a special association with Sydney He came to Australia from the USA having won the international competition for the design of the new Federal Capital of Australia, Canberra in 1912. Griffin formed the Greater Sydney Development Association Ltd in 1920 and developed the land now called Castlecrag, Middle Cove and Castle Cove. He and his family lived in Castlecrag from 1925
Walter and his architect wife Marion were amongst the first in Australia to promote a modernist approach to architecture and town planning. They believed that architecture and landscape should be harmonious and that buildings including industrial buildings can be attractive and should integrate into their surrounds.
No community wanted an incinerator in their neighbourhood. Griffin’s design gave the incinerator a unique competitive edge. The Willoughby design is a fine example of Griffin’s use of his signature motif, the triangular decorative design rendered here in concrete.
A key feature of the Incinerator site is a public artwork by renowned artist Richard Goodwin. Titled Exoskeleton Lift, the large-scale fabricated polished stainless steel reflects the exterior setting and transforms the structure of the external lift core within the landscape of the Incinerator. According to Goodwin, “This contemporary sculpture is an ode to Griffin.”
Today the incinerator has been lovingly refurbished and now serves as a café. This stunning venue in offers seasonal menus, welcoming hospitality and a dining atmosphere perfect for relaxation.
IMAGE CREDIT: Darren Bradley and Sardaka