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City in the city : a new scenario for Fiat Mirafiori industry

Alberto Matta

City in the city : a new scenario for Fiat Mirafiori industry.

Rel. Silvia Malcovati, Christian Rapp, Haike Apelt. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2015



The work subject of the present thesis is the result of a year-lasting collaboration between the Polytechnic University of Turin and Eindhoven Technical University’s Chair of Rational Architecture, guided by Professor Silvia Malcovati as Italian Supervisor and Professor Christian Rapp together with Haike Apelt as Dutch Supervisors.

The exchange Project focused on the city of Turin and bears the name “Gran Torino Graduation Studio”.

The work was focused on the city of Turin and involved sixteen students of both universities.

Starting from a typo-morphological analysis on the architectures of the city, from its Roman past until the most recent times, it concluded with sixteen individual designs developed from each single students research question, in which the outcomes of the first analysis were also taken into account.

The researches carried out in the first semester of work led to the publication of Gran Torino Atlas, which provides a complete overview on the city development, together with those architectural changes that accompanied it along the centuries. The first months of work was mainly dedicated to the above mentioned publication: each of the teams, made up of an Italian student and a Dutch one, dealt with one among the different chapters that the Atlas consists of.

Within the Program the Italian students were given the chance to spend five months in Eindhoven working on their individual thesis, collaborating with Dutch students and learning from the Dutch method.

With those inputs and background information in mind, the individual designs proceeded.

In my case, as a result of the analysis conducted for the draft of the Atlas, I found it very interesting the area of Fiat Mirafiori and how this huge urban “void”, composed of millions of square meters, has had an impact on the urban development as well as economic and social planning, and historical choices own of the city of Torino and its hinterland.

Torino, a city with a strong and clear structure, after several expansions and year after year, has consolidated itself without the possibility of an alternative, thanks to urban plans and regulations made in the past years. During the 50s-60s-70s, years of the economic boom and mass production, the consolidation of Fiat inside Torino’s social and economic policies, led local actors to develop the idea of the city in a more contemporary key, but without ever reaching a convincing solution. In recent decades, after what can be defined as the “rise and fall of the industrial era”, Torino had to reinvent itself and has been doing that as a city of sport, of the Olympic games, of the culture and tourism, the tertiary sector and new technologies, forgetting however an important part that marked its development, that is its industrial past and namely the Fiat Mirafiori factory.

In the second half of the XX century, Mirafiori was the identifying symbol of the city-factory, as an enormous dormitory that revolved around to one of the biggest factories in Italy and Europe.

Fiat Mirafiori occupies an area of 300 hectares, surrounded by a perimeter wall which leaves no possibility of contact between inside and outside. This area can be seen as a sort of “city within a city” with its own population: workers who daily cross the doors and the gates of this vast expanse of factories, sheds and machineries.

Hence the title “City in the City”, that partly reflects the concept of the manifesto of Berlin by O.M. Ungers and on the other hand shows how ts, has been excluded from the city of Torinime lived by the citizens-workers day after day. A “industed to show and share its spaces with the comm “elected” that, after exhausting work shiftsilies ir lives and their day in the city of Fiat tions led me to the choice of the Fiat Mirafiori ant to identity for the district. Questions arose ure for Mirafiori and Torino be? How will the city ofordism? Which idea of the city we want? Surely complicated are ecomes almost enigmatic to imagine the cuntil a few years ago.

Maybe in a question I can wrap, somehow, my intention of looking for a unified response: how, concerning Fiat Mirafiori area, it is possible to redefine the identity of this place?

To reach a conclusion, a logical path will be developed through a few chapters within the thesis:

The first chapters concerns the history and the changes occurred over the decades in the neighborhood of Fiat Mirafiori, from the Savoy residence of Miraflores to the second half of the twentieth century. In these chapters the analysis of the area and its important history are depicted to the reader through the outcomes of preliminary morphological studies, for example as it concerns the historical evolution of the factory, connected to the development of the industry in Torino.

The work done in the Atlas and the detailed analyzes are used to allow the reader to understand the iter of

conformation and development of the area through maps, photographs, drawings and illustrative texts.

The third chapter then deals with the construction of the theoretical approach to formulate a new scenario on the area of Fiat Mirafiori.

In the first part, this chapter attempts to answer through a purely conceptual approach the questions posed above.

The search for the formulation of a solution, to do on the area of Mirafiori, encouraged me to investigate different solutions overlapping different types of cities and different “lifestyles”. The result has been to not do a unconditional utopian approach but, reformulating some theories (mainly those of O.M. Unger and Aldo Rossi), reaching a achievable and feasible possible scenario for this area keeping the idea of heterotopias inside of it. In fact the debate shown takes as a starting point the “contrasting“ ideas between utopias and heterotopias, in particular the case of Michel Foucault through the discussion of his ideas about the “non places”.

The second part of this chapter explores a central theme of the thesis: the theories illustrated up to that point are put into practice, trying to conceive coherently with them a masterplan for the area of the factory. Following considerations over the theoretical approach and to the guidelines for the concept, the new scenario develops a densification for a large part of the area of Fiat Mirafiori. This scenario is analyzed imaging its actualization according to different time phases of development, reproposing the method of analysis of morphological fragment.

The fourth chapter then focuses on a part of the masterplan and illustrates the project of the re-use of an industrial building located in the area of Fiat Mirafiori North.

Focusing on the reuse of industrial buildings, the work tries to give a new face to the memory and identity of this place. The building taken into account, as a result of its transformation, can be considered as a starting point to undertake a debate about the value of this area and on our industrial heritage into disuse.

The aim of this work is therefore to achieve, through a logical path, the formulation of a new scenario for the area of Fiat Mirafiori, reworking the theoretical approaches of some important exponents of the second half of the twentieth century.

Its conclusions can be instead seen as an attempt to provide answers to the arguments and meditations developed in this first introductory part. In this way it therefore came up the concept of the “city in the city”, reformulated in a contemporary way through designing, a result of the final considerations, on the city of Turin and the district of Mirafiori, the possibility to develop a new scenario to be taken to overcome the issues of today, focusing attention on the issue of the area of Fiat Mirafiori industry.

Relators: Silvia Malcovati, Christian Rapp, Haike Apelt
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: A Architettura > AF Buildings and equipment for leisure, social activities, sport
U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/4317


1. Historical background of Mirafiori

1.1 The castle of Drosso

1.2 The palace of Miraflores

1.3 Stupinigi and the Crown of Delights

1.4 The pantheon of Mirafiori

1.5 Mirafiori till the XXI century

1.5.1 Ippodromo

1.5.2 Campo volo Gino Lisa

1.5.3 Ex Gruppo Rionale Fascista Giovanni Porcù del Nunzio

1.5.4 Case FIAT

1.5.5 Garden city of Mirafiori

1.5.6 INA-Casa and Torre Mirafiori

2. Industrial development and FIAT Mirafiori

2.1 Torino, late 19th-20th century

2.2 The industrial urbanization of Torino, 1899-1922

2.3 The densification of Torino industry

2.4 FIAT Mirafiori industry

2.4.1 Palazzina per Uffici

2.4.2 Producion hall

2.4.3 Serbatorio pensile

3. A new scenario

3.1 Seeking for an approach: Utopias, Heterotopias, Reality

3.2 Theoretical approach: New polarity for Fiat Mirafiori

3.4 Design approach: Guidelines

3.5 Design approach: New fragments and the masterplan

4.1 Ex-Dai and ex-Gommatura buildings

4.2 Thecnical report of the project

4.2.1 Identity

4.2.2 Engine of development

4.2.3 Urban landscape

4.2.4 Functional and compositional flexibility

4.2.5 Environmental and technological sustainability


Images references



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Web pages




http://www.comune.torino.it/circ 101/



Other sources

Archivio Storico della Città di Torino (ASCT) Centro and Archivio Storico FIAT di Torino

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