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  Essential Architecture-  Turin

Fiat Works


Giaccomo Matte-Trucco


Turin, Italy


1920 to 1923


International Style


racing/test track on roof


“…this vast, five-storey, reinforced concrete industrial loft is still in use. The five floors are ordered sequentially to provide for (1) maintenance and motor testing (2) engine machining and body assembly, (3) gear box and differential steering, (4) spraying, upholstering, suspension and differential steering, (5) lorry production and (6) testing. This last takes place in the open air, on the roof where a banked reinforced concrete racetrack has been provided, on an area measuring 1680 feet by 260 feet. At the ends the banking to this track rises some 15 feet in 55 feet and this activation of the roof, together with its highly sculptural form was to inspire Le Corbusier’s conception of the roofscape for his Unité apartment block built at Marseilles in 1952.”

“…this is a pioneering work in the application of reinforced concrete construction to an industrial plant. It was designed significantly enough by a naval engineer. Accommodating some 6,000 workers in 16,000,000 square foot of floor space, it was an undertaking of unprecedented size. From a structural point of view, however, the most remarkable innovation was the helicoidal car ramps at either end of the block which were braced by an extremely elegant system of reinforced concrete ribs, a system which in retrospect recalls the theoretical projects of de Baudot and seems to anticipate the later realizations of Pier Luigi Nervi, such as his Gatti Wool factory built at Rome in 1953.”

— Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. p195.