Benedetto Camerana has added almost 40,000 plants to the test track on the roof of Fiat’s former HQ in Turin, reclaiming industrial space with nature
Words by Francesca Perry
Italian architect and landscape designer Benedetto Camerana has created a public garden on the rooftrack of the old Fiat plant, named Lingotto, in Turin. La Pista 500 transforms the industrial roofscape – previously used as a test track for Fiat vehicles – into a linear garden with almost 40,000 small trees, shrubs, and plants. Formerly a private space, the roof is now a public place where people can gather, relax and exercise.
Lingotto operated as the historic headquarters of Fiat from 1923 to the early 1980s. In 1994, the former factory reopened as a large mixed-use structure, after an adaptation project by Renzo Piano, housing work spaces, hospitality, commercial activities, events and cultural activities. The La Pista 500 project honours and extends Piano’s vision for the building, particularly his original concept of incorporating nature inside concrete, which he did in one of the inner courtyards.
La Pista 500 extends for 27,000 sq m of the rooftrack, with natural installations covering over 6,000 sq m, divided into 28 green ‘islands’. Over 300 indigenous species take root in and around the ring, selected based on ecological criteria: the majority are herbaceous perennials that grow swiftly without requiring much water. Hazelnut trees and edible species alternate with areas for fitness, meditation and yoga. The garden is supported by lighting from iGuzzini and infographics on Turin’s cityscape.
‘The park lands on the asphalt,’ muses Camerana of the project. Too often paradise may be paved with a parking lot, but here a road has been reclaimed as a garden – mostly at least. The original test track’s kilometre loop, now immersed in greenery, will become a track for electric propulsion vehicles, as well as for bicycles and scooters.
Photography by Marco Schiavone
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