Designed by engineer Giacomo Mattè-Trucco, the Fiat Lingotto Factory in Torino, Italy took seven years to build, finally opening in 1923 and instantly becoming Europe’s largest automobile factory, second only in the World to Ford’s River Rouge Complex, Michigan, USA.
Raw materials would go in on ground floor level, pass through 5 floors along a unique upward spiralling assembly line, finally emerging as finished cars onto the rooftop test track.
The building itself was one of the first reinforced concrete ever constructed.
Le Corbusier famously called it "one of the most impressive sights in industry", and "a guideline for town planning". For over 50 years Lingotto was the birthplace of many classic models such as the Fiat 124 sport spyder and the 1936 Topolino.
Sadly the car-building technology inside this landmark building became outdated and the plant finally closed in 1982, as Fiat moved production elsewhere. Thankfully architecture won the day and the building was saved by massive public demand. Renzo Piano won a competition to redesign the factory, turning the 16 million square feet of shop-floor into a shopping centre, theatre, concert halls and a hotel, completed in 1989. In 2002 Renzo added Lo Scrigno, a modern art gallery perched on the top floor with its 16,000 piece floating roof.
The rooftop test track has been preserved as a tourist attraction, but the only laps these days are done by the jogging hotel guests.
by Darren Maddison
photos thanks to : areadeescape
Lo Scrigno art gallery
photos thanks to : skyscrapercity
photo thanks to : andrewFI