What is Significant? The Ford Complex at Campbellfield is a sprawling industrial complex which developed from 1956 on land formerly owned by the Victorian Housing Commission. It comprises two Assembly Plants (built 1958/59), a large Administration Building designed by architects Buchan Laird & Buchan (1964), a Plastics Plant (1972) and sundry buildings of more recent origin, all prominently sited on the Hume Highway in a landscaped setting.
How is it Significant? Collectively, the Ford complex is of regional historical and architectural significance. Individually, the Administration Building is of state historical and architectural significance.
Why is it Significant? Historically, the Ford Broadmeadows factory was a major logistic and architectural undertaking and the largest motor assembly complex in the country. The Ford Motor Company is the oldest operating motor vehicle manufacturer in Australia. Together with fellow giant manufacturer General Motors Holden, they have dominated Australia's motor vehicle production since WWII. The Broadmeadows complex is also a key constituent in Victoria's dominance of Australia's motor car production.
It was also the largest post World War Two manufacturing industry in the region, developed in parallel with the huge Broadmeadows estates built by the Housing Commission of Victoria, which together greatly expanded the northern suburbs of Melbourne generally. In this it is comparable to similar major post World War Two industrial expansion and extensive HCV housing development in the Dandenong area.
The Administration Building, designed by local commercial architects Buchan Laird and Buchan, is the most architecturally significant part of the complex, and combined with its historical association, is of state level importance. Located in a spacious grassed setting, it is a bold modern statement, comprising a black box suspended above a setback base, set on a 'natural' stone-clad podium. A 'second skin' of delicate gold-coloured framing, and heat-absorbing glass panels is a particularly successful attempt to add a sense of sumptuousness and complexity within a modernist idiom, and creates a memorable modern image for the company. Signage is restricted to a simple but huge billboard, built at a scale to be read by traffic passing on the Hume highway.