Erected in the 19th Century as a series of buildings for repairing trains, the Officine Grandi Riparazioni, in the south-west of Turin, have recently undergone a wave of innovation that has transformed them into one of the Europe’s most important hubs for art, culture, food, science, technology and industrial research.
The 12,000 sq. m area has been completely redeveloped following a major investment by Fondazione CRT. Overseen by Garibaldi Architects, the project’s objective was to create an innovation hub unique for its design capacity and setting. The main building at the former workshops was preserved, its inside used to create spaces for hosting startups, scaleups, national and international corporations and applied research centers dedicated to smart data and smart mobility in partnership. To organize all these activities without compartmentalizing the structure, the idea the architects pursued was to create a place that is open, flexible and accessible to all. They achieved this through technological innovation and the use of natural materials which made it possible to create personal solutions adaptable to different needs. The resulting broad open space is supported by a truss structure and iron pillars, externally covered in terracotta bricks typical of industrial architecture.
A 200 m-long boulevard illuminated by large windows at a height
of 16 m runs right down the middle, enabling employees to freely walk through the structure. The two side bays, housing glass and black calamine rooms on two floors, provides 499 smart workstations equipped with ergonomic desks at adjustable, storable heights to offer the comfort necessary for sessions of hard work. These areas are flanked by flexible, modular open space meeting rooms, social tables, chat sofas and soundproofed phone booth areas, hot design and coffee break areas as well as 50 LED and video wall screens allowing real-time broadcasts of news and
live-streamed global events. Iron and wood prevail among the hallmark materials in the two side bays, in colors and textures that pay homage to the Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture collective founded by Ettore Sottsass between 1981 and 1987. Situated at the entrance, the reception area is a large, suspended 9 m-long parallelepiped. A LED wall at the front, designed with metal tubing inspired by the scaffolding used on construction sites, highlights the OGR workshops’ characteristic blue color.
The objective all partners involved in the redevelopment pursued was to create a model of international excellence, both as a project for incubating new smart ventures and in terms of architecture and design, creating a place for people to cultivate new ideas in a
state-of-the-art environment in every sense of the term.
Location: Turin, Italy
Clients: Fondazione CRT, OGR (Massimo Lapucci)
Completion Date: 2019
Gross Floor Area: 12,000 m2
Refurbishment project: Boffa, Petrone & Partners Progettisti Associati, Building Engineering
Interior Design and Custom Furniture: Garibaldi Architects
Project Architect: Marco Colasanti
Main Contractor: Zumaglini & Gallina
Electrical Plant: Elettromeccanica Galli
Phone Booths and Acoustic Sofas: Estel Group
Photography by Giacomo Albo, courtesy of Garibaldi Architects
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