-Derek Chang & James Joslin

The Fiat Lingotto factory was built in 1923 in Turin, Italy by engineer Giacomo Matte Trucco. It is significant that Giovanni Agnelli, one of Fiat’s founding members, visited the Ford Motor Company Plant in Highland Park in 1902 and 1912, where he drew influence that would directly translate into the Lingotto Plant. Lingotto employs steel concrete frame construction almost identical to the Kahn method used in Michigan, and incorporates concepts like linear or vertical production and the assembly line, all ideas drawn from earlier American factories. In direct opposition to Ford’s Highland Park, which utilizes gravity and large openings in the floor plate for the production of cars to flow from top levels down to the ground level, the Fiat factory began production on the ground floor, moving continuously upwards until the car was fed out, literally, onto a rooftop racetrack. The racetrack (which was never entirely functional) is both symbolic and monumental and a move Kahn’s extreme pragmatism would have been averse to. The factory is being used today as a sort of social, cultural center for Turin. Located at the final stop of the metro system, the factory now includes a shopping mall, art gallery, and three different hotels.

Diagram by James Joslin