• Tertiary and Commerce
• Basement parking, exhibition complex, theatre
• Exhibition and theatre pavilions
• Public building
PLAN AND CONSTRUCTION 1936 - 1938
• Ettore Sottsass Sr.
PLAN AND CONSTRUCTION 1948 - 1950
• Pier Luigi Nervi
PLAN AND CONSTRUCTION 1958 - 1960
• Riccardo Morandi
The history of this complex is marked by three main project phases. In 1936-1938, the Fashion Hall was built on the edge of the Valentino Park (the exhibition area in Turin) after a design pitch won by Ettore Sottsass sr. The complex was damaged during the war, and in 1948-1950 Pier Luigi Nervi built first the large main hall with its apse, covered with an extraordinary ribbed vault in ferrocement, and subsequently (1950) a rear hall that is also covered with a ribbed vault resting on four concrete arches.
In 1960, a new hall was built next to the complex: the Riccardo Morandi hall, which was planned when Ente Torino Esposizioni needed to build a new, large pavilion to be used for the exhibition of industrial vehicles, since the existing Palazzo dell’Esposizione had become insufficient. In order not to compromise the existing green areas of the Park, engineer Vittorio Bonadè Bottino had the idea to build the new structure underground, below the area of the outdoor gallop, then restore the lawn and dedicate it as a playground to children.In 1996 the management of the fifth Pavilion of Torino Esposizioni, after nearly 40 years of use as an exhibition site, was transferred to GTT (Gruppo Trasporti Torinesi), which transformed it into a parking area. In 1999, the Town Council and GTT, together with the Italian Association of Travelling Showpeople and Leisure Parks, found an agreement for a multipurpose use of the fifth Pavilion. After a careful restoration for the 2006 Winter Olympics and its use for temporary structures, the main pavilion is being considered for a museum
The main entrance of Sottsass’ fashion pavilion is still standing, with its thin concrete pillars and the round planned panoramic restaurant. Nervi’s two salons, carefully restored, are in excellent conditions; the decision to lay the systems’ new pipes on the vault extrados has made it possible to maintain the elegance and spatial qualities of the interior.
Morandi’s Pavilion is one of the works that best shows the potential and nimble use of technique by this engineer.
It is a large hall (69 meter wide and 150 meter long) with the floor eight meters below the average level of the surrounding roads. Two road systems that link with the external roads were made by the heads, with the result that the sides of the hall were kept leaning against the ground and the heads were left openworked, making them overlook amphitheater-shaped vegetation areas. A feature of the structure is the layout of the ribs, which are not parallel to the cross axis of the building, but diverge and cross one another. Two pairs of ribs rest on a pair of rafters. The supporting structure is made of precompressed concrete and, because of its special shape, it can support at best the considerable load of the earth above and the planned accidental overload. All supporting structures are open-faced and retain the pattern of the formwork placement and assembly; also the brick intrados of the entire floor is open-face. Initially, there were neither plastered nor painted elements.
Modern architecture in the surrounding areas:
On corso Massimo d'Azeglio there are residential buildings from the 1950s and 1960s designed by the most important Turin-based professionals, from Gualtiero Casalegno to Gino Becker (additional stories on the corner with via Baretti). In front of the Morandi Pavilion, also the massive late-eclecticism volume of the Galileo Ferraris national Electrotechnical Institute deserve a visit.