Dear industrial heritage professionals, enthusiasts and activists,
some months ago it has been decided to transform the historical roof track of the iconic Lingotto factory into a roof garden. The idea of making the place accessibile for the citizenship (today the access is “officially” restricted to the contemporary art museum visitors) and reactivate the track can be good purposes, but the “garden transformation” cannot be considered acceptable.
It’s not a matter of personal taste about the project, but a deeper cultural question. The architect justifies his work, a “reappropriation of industrial architecture by nature” saying that, before the plant was built, there was a farmhouse there. This statement can sound both ignorant and ridiculous, but that’s the message we have to stop. This is not your average decaying shed in nowhere Milan, Berlin or New York where to set up trendy reuses. The Lingotto has been always considered, already after its inauguration, a masterpiece of the 20th century architecture. Le Corbusier put it in its work “Vers une architecture” among the innovative solutions of that time, pointing exactly at the roof track.
But beyond its international architectural value, the Lingotto represents the pursuit of modernity of an entire country, through its largest company. A country that was still pending between progress and backwardness, and where suddenly one of the most modern factories of that age was conceived and built.
It’s a real shame that the Lingotto has not at least included into a tentative list for the Word Heritage Sites: there are already included industrial heritage sites with a lot less importance and uniqueness than this one. There is a lot to question about its first reuse project as today, especially young people, have no idea what the Lingotto was and stands for. We cannot accept a further mystification of its identity.
We have to join the forces to stop this madness and force the stakeholders to a more historically respectful and culturally appropriate regeneration project for the roof track.