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The former Fiat Lingotto factory turns 100 years old

YESTERDAY AN INDUSTRIAL CATHEDRAL, TODAY A MULTIFUNCTIONAL CENTER – Within its walls today people go shopping, watch a film at the cinema, take a motor vehicle engineering lesson, eat a hamburger, pizza or sushi at the all you can eat. And yet, until forty years ago, thousands of cars came out of the same gates through which hotel guests, passers-by and students of the Polytechnic pass every day. The last one, in 1983, was the Lancia Delta, but the history of Fiat factory of the Ingot begins sixty years earlier. More precisely, in May of 1923with the inauguration of the factory in the presence of King Vittorio Emanuele III.

FIAT AND ITS “GREEN” REVOLUTION – Once on the roof of the factory in via Nizza the test track of the Fiat. Today, that legendary ribbon of high-altitude asphalt has been transformed into a green carpet with more than 40,000 plants, a museum dedicated to the Fiat 500 and a circuit for electric cars (Who the news). It is the “green” revolution of a place that the famous architect Le Corbusier, pioneer of concrete for architecture, as well as one of the main fathers of contemporary urban planning, at the time he did not hesitate to define it as “one of the most impressive shows that the industry has ever offered”. In some way sanctioning the transition from a factory city to a post-industrial metropolis, theformer Fiat Lingotto factorytoday a multifunctional center that houses university classrooms, shops, restaurants and hotels, continues to represent a bridge between the past and the future not only of Fiat, but also of Turin.

A NEW WORK ORGANIZATION – The small museum dedicated to the mythical 500, which can be reached after having climbed the helicoidal ramp on foot of theformer Fiat Lingotto factory, suggests the power of what, despite its profound metamorphosis, remains one of the most important Italian examples of architectural modernity. Not only that: that structure, which at its inception was the largest European plant destined for mass production, also tells of a new work organization, based on the American example of Ford, where the rule to achieve maximum efficiency in the supply chain assembly was to minimize the movements of the workers from their workstations.

FORBIDDEN TO STOP, IN THE NAME OF PROGRESS – Following the Fordist model, in the Lingotto plant, designed in 1915 by Giacomo Matté Trucco, Fiat redesigned the entire assembly process for its cars. And this was possible thanks to the concentration in a single structure of all the departments in which the various phases of the production cycle took place. The flow of operations, subdivided into floors, flowed vertically: for the first time the worker became part of a mechanism that never had to stop. On the first floor the sheet metal was stamped, on the second the engines were assembled, on the third the gears, on the fourth the bodies were painted, while the fifth was intended for the final assembly and finishing.

HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY ONE STEP FROM THE CLOUDS – Here the car was finally ready to move on its wheels, but before arriving at the dealership it still had to pass the testing on the roof of the building. A kilometer and a half long, that circuit at a height of 28 meters was formed by two straight lines of 443 meters each connected by two banked curves and on it up to fifty cars could whiz by at the same time. And today, what happens up there, one step away from the clouds? If you listen closely, at the most it can happen to hear the hum of a car running on electricity: an almost imperceptible noise, but which clearly marks the rhythm of changing times…

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