Going through the roof
A new rooftop in Turin reveals several trends. And not just about Fiat.
The famous Lingotto building in Turin’s Via Nizza once housed a car factory built by Italian automotive company Fiat. On its roof: the world famous testtrack. The building started in 1916, the factory opened in 1923. It was the largest car factory in the world and considered avant-garde, influential and impressive. Le Corbusier: “One of the most impressive sights in industry”. (See some lovely black and white footage of the Fiat 508 Balilla production at Lingotto). The factory closed in 1982. Fiat will leave the iconic, historic location: a result of the coming merger with Peugeot.
Overturn of roofarea
Sign o’ the times: Fiat recently presented an overturn of the roofarea. Next summer it will host public gardens, a restaurant, a museum and bikelanes. Not unlike NYC’s High Line Park. The museum will be named ‘Casa 500’, dedicated to the iconic little Fiat. A testtrack will remain, exclusively for electric and hybrid vehicles though.
Fiat unfolded the plans for the famous rooftop during the presentation of the electric 500 model (read in Dutch about its little brother, the 600, a bit less iconic but hostorically important for the Italian automobilie industry: ‘Onbemind belangrijk broertje‘). ‘The start of a new era,’ as Fiat president Elkan called it. The entire 500-gamma is now available in e-editions, making 2020 the year of the electric turnaround for Fiat.
The whole project seems symbolic of various trends in different areas, that are currently going through the roof: urban mobility, the car industry (antoher big merger coming), electrification, the unstopable green wave, the overturn of public spaces, private-public cooperation for urban development.
On a sidenote: even now the Lingotto test track inspires other car manufacturers. Hyundai is building a Singapore R&D hub which features a helipad for flying cars. A 620-meter circular driving course à la Lingotto will sit atop the center. Another sign o’the times…