Loneliness & Abandonment - OGR Torino
Built between 1885 and 1895, Officine Grandi Riparazioni represent a particularly significant testimonial of Turin’s early industrial development, which began just a few years after national unification. It was a crucial passage in the city’s history. After losing the title of Capital of Italy, held between 1861 and 1865, and with the demise of its role as political and administrative centre, held for centuries as capital of the State of Savoy, Turin had to face up to its future, reinvent itself and seek a new vocation. The city’s authorities had already been appealing to the wealthy aristocratic and upper class families to abandon their traditional forms of income, linked to property investments and the purchase of government bonds, for several years, and they made the decision to invest their money in industrial development.
The birth of the Officine falls right into this context. Built at a time of strong development of the infrastructural networks of a country which had finally been united and had every intention of entering into competition with the strongest European economies, Officine Grandi Riparazioni was conceived to be an avant-garde centre in the revision and repair of railway carriages and locomotives. A functional element to the strengthening of exchanges of industrial products and raw materials to and from Turin, a vital step towards the transformation of the city into a great industrial centre. A significant confirmation of this vocation is provided by the size of the complex. Officine Grandi Riparazioni, located along the railway line linked Turin and Milan, occupies a huge area (190.000 square metres) containing enormous constructions featuring an austere but appreciable architectural style with a similar structure to imposing modern cathedrals, with aisles as long as 200 metres. But is the position of the plants that really denotes the presence of an overall plan for expansion.