Great Repair Workshops in Turin, Italy

The Officine Grandi Riparazioni di Torino (OGR Torino) is a late 19th century industrial complex located in Turin. For a century, between the late nineteenth and early nineties, the OGR-Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin represented excellence in the field of maintenance of locomotives, railcars and railway wagons.

The multifunctional spaces of the OGR Cult extend over an area of about 9,000 square meters and host, in continuous rotation, exhibitions, shows, concerts – from classical to electronic music – theater and dance events. The names of the areas reflect the history of the places: the 3 “Tracks” located in the western area host the exhibitions and exhibition projects, as well as the installation of TeamLab Kids Future Park. The area dedicated to concerts and performance events.

Retains the ancient name of “Sala Fucine”, while the heart of the OGR Cult spaces is the “Duomo”: the imposing 19-meter high hallto allow maintenance steam to leave the workshops, today it is destined for symposia, workshops and conferences. The restoration of the areas followed a rigorous recovery which, by adapting the building to the new destination, left intact the sedimentations of the past still visible on the walls: some murals, for example, have been maintained and are visible to the public, in a game of references and contaminations between memory and contemporaneity which is the hallmark of the reborn Officine.

In the past, the OGRs were a maintenance establishment for railway vehicles, first of the Ferrate Roads of Upper Italy (SFAI), then of the Mediterranean Network (RM) and finally of the State Railways. At the beginning of the twentieth century, they were nicknamed Officine Nuove, to distinguish them from the existing ones of Stazione Porta Nuova; major repairs to steam locomotives and three-phase alternating current electric locomotives were carried out here. After World War II, when the activities on the two previous types of engines ceased, they were used for the maintenance of the railcars.

Following the closure, which took place in the early 90s, its abandonment and decay led to its demolition, which was then averted. A part of the complex, originally called the H-shaped pavilion and today commonly referred to as OGR, was used to host some major exhibitions organized as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

In 2015, the OGR project won the Urban Planning Award. The inauguration of the first part of the recovery work took place on 30 September 2017 with the Big Bang, the first scheduled appointment that saw Giorgio Moroder, Elisa, Ghali, Omar Souleyman and Chemical Brothers. In 2017, the OGRs were visited by 100,000 people.

The inauguration of the new building took place on 30 September 2017, with a big event called “Big Bang”, opening the new spaces of the restored workshops to the public. The Turin OGRs host exhibitions and cultural events relating to the visual and performing arts, music and education within their spaces.

The restructuring
In 2013 the CRT Foundation purchased the H-shaped building of about 20,000 square meters and 16 meters high, the offices and the uncovered areas and, through the OGR-CRT Company, started the redevelopment One hundred million was invested euros from the CRT Foundation for the rebirth of OGRs, seeking to integrate solutions with high technological content, environmental sustainability, safeguarding of historical value, flexibility of spaces and accessibility.

In 2015, the OGR project won the Urban Planning Award (category: quality of infrastructures and public spaces); the brand, the brand identity and the internal signage project designed by studio FM milano were instead selected by the Design Observatory to become part of the ADI Design Index.

The inauguration of the first part of the recovery work took place on 30 September 2017 with the Big Bang, the first scheduled appointment that saw Giorgio Moroder, Elisa, Ghali, Omar Souleyman and Chemical Brothers among the guests. In 2017, after three years from the start of the intervention by the CRT Foundation, the OGRs reopen to the public. During the year, the OGRs were visited by 100,000 people. The complex will be fully open in the summer of 2019, following the completion of construction in the south sleeve.

Permanent works
The collection of works commissioned for the spaces, and destined to grow over time, sees some of the protagonists of contemporary art confronting the spaces, the history and the future of OGRs. The permanent installations can be visited free of charge. Procession of Reparationists is located in the East Court open every day from 7 to 24. Track is located in Snodo, the Taste area of OGR open every day from 8 to 16.

To date, the permanent works installed in OGR are William Kentridge’s sculptural installation Procession of reparationists, 2017, which welcomes visitors to the East Court and Arturo Herrera’s large mural, Track, 2017, on the entrance wall to the OGR Cult.

The East Court of the OGR hosts Procession of reparationists, a public and site-specific installation created by William Kentridge, one of the leading exponents of contemporary art worldwide. It is a commission identified by the Castello di Rivoli – Museum of Contemporary Art and supported entirely by the CRT Foundation for Modern and Contemporary Art, whose curation and production has been entrusted to the Castello di Rivoli. The artist has created an intervention inspired by the former industrial and worker vocation of Officine Grandi Riparazioni. The sculpture, in black metal, is composed of a procession of figures with a highly significant and symbolic value, as it alludes to the repair work of trains and bodies.

Track is the site-specific work created by Arturo Herrera for the entrance wall of the Officine Nord. Made entirely in a single color, a clear and vibrant blue, Track welcomes visitors and invites them to explore the cultural offer of OGR. The wall painting combines lines of various sizes and thicknesses to form an intricate lattice reminiscent of the layout of railway tracks or a series of paths that meet in various directions, also suggesting an intertwining of branches and trees that stretch upwards. The painting conveys, through its grid of lines, the idea of intense movement suggesting some of the key values of OGR: interconnection, fluidity and energy.

The historic area of the OGR
Officine Grandi Riparazioni dedicate a space to tell their story. A journey from 1885 to the present day made thanks to the memories of former workers interviewed by the boys of the High Schools Berti and Cavour in Turin, and hosted in a space inspired by a long railway carriage. At its origins, the home of that “worker aristocracy” proud of its work, a substantial part in the development of Turin’s industry, now home to exhibitions, musical experiments, cultural and educational projects, and a pole of innovation projected towards the future: OGRs are always remained for Turin a place of creation whose gates have opened to see old steamers, skilled workers and today, the international public of Art and Technology pass by.

Officine Grandi Riparazioni are dedicating a new space to telling their story, with what it was like, an area inspired by a long railway carriage, which invites visitors to take a journey through time from 1885 to the present day. It was as it is is composed of a series of interactive and immersive installations, including a virtual reality station that allows the visitor to relive the experience of the work that took place inside the OGR buildings. These installations, together with the structure that contains them, were designed by Alice Delorenzi, who also contributed to the organization of the contents, developed by the Education Department led by Roberta Zendrini, curator of the entire project. as it was as it is born from the direct involvement offormer OGR workers, interviewed by the students of the Berti and Cavour high schools, and invites us to reflect on what the memory and the future of these spaces have in common, on what may seem coincidences but which actually suggest a more intimate and profound bond.

Ogr: from train workshops to ideas workshops
With the intervention of restructuring and recovery, the transition from former workshops for the repair of trains to new workshops of contemporary culture, innovation and business acceleration with an international vocation is realized.

The North Workshops
The spaces of the Officine Nord are designed to be multifunctional over a total area of about 9,000 square meters, a meeting place for visual and performing arts, hosting exhibitions, shows, concerts, theater events, dance and immersive virtual reality experiences, in a real digital gallery. In particular, the visual arts will be located in the three west “tracks” of the North Workshops, the performing arts in the east wing, which maintains the ancient name of “Sala Fucine”. The heart of the Officine Nord is the “Duomo”: the impressive 19 meter high hall – where the train carriages were positioned vertically for maintenance – will be used for symposia, workshops and conferences.

The South Workshops
The new Officine Sud space, which will be definitively completed in 2019-2020, will host an incubator of ideas focused on startups, creative industries and smart data. In fact, in the area of about 9,000 square meters, a hub for scientific, technological and industrial research will be developed in collaboration with local and international partners, focused on three main activities: support for startups, creation of a center for training and development of projects in the creative industries sector and development of an applied research center on smart data.

Future Park
The OGRs host the first permanent space in Europe dedicated to teamLab, the collective of Japanese developers that for sixteen years has been carrying out research that integrates art and technology and that the general public has known for the extraordinary success of their installations at the Japan Pavilion at Expo2015, so much so that they have chosen to face long waits in order to access. Through immersive environments and interactive projections that are sensitive to movement and touch, teamLab transforms visitors into creators of scenarios and stories subject to constant change, so that it is impossible to repeat the same visual composition.

At the OGRs in particular, for the first time in Italy, their Future Park project is born: a set of installations and workstations that bring children closer to the creative interaction with the work and makes adults understand better the approach required by artists to reading their works. The vocation for interdisciplinarity, the spirit of collaboration, inclusiveness, attention to training and education that distinguish teamLab are perfectly combined with the key ideals of OGRs. The environment, which will see the coexistence of different playful-artistic experiences, will change shape and subject over time, occupying Track 3 of the OGR CULT.

Transliteral shop
Transliteral Shop is the unpublished project signed by Martì Guixè and conceived as a site-specific intervention for OGR. A space for the curious and passionate, designed to host books and objects but also as a natural continuation of artistic research and the creative drive promoted in the exhibition spaces, in the concert hall and in the universe of OGR Tech. A public place and for the public where it is possible to stop and play among the books, where children can look and touch and adults discover new ways. Guix’s project is also completed by his luminous intervention, El Pulpo de la ilustracion: a cascade of light bulbs capable of ideally combining the bookcase and the adjacent historic area through a playful and at the same time functional gesture.

Snodo: the space of taste
In what is the transept area, the ideal connection center between the two sleeves of the new OGRs, Snodo comes to life, a unique and new tasting experience in the city. Snodo is a journey into taste to be done throughout the day, with diversified proposals from morning for breakfast to late evening for a special after dinner. Combine the great traditional cuisine of Piedmont with modern techniques which, such as fast and low temperature cooking, respect and enhance the raw materials, preferring the small short chain productions of which our territory is rich and combining health and taste in the best possible way.

Snodo is a flexible, inclusive and innovative project: the environments, different in size, choice of furniture and use, are all united by a single vision: to focus on the customer by returning to the concept of hospitality in a space to be lived at 360 °. Breakfast, mid-morning break, quick and light lunch break, business appointment, aperitif with friends, informal or elegant dinner: there is always an excuse to come to Snodo.


The platform for innovation
OGR Tech is the new innovation hub for scientific, technological and industrial research, with the aim of catalyzing half a billion euros in investments and 1,000 new startups accelerated over the next twenty years, which relies on international partnerships. With Techstars, a global leader that supports the growth of startups, the CRT Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation and the Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, the first acceleration program in Europe dedicated to smart mobility was launched. With Microsoft it was born at the OGR Tech Revolution Factory, the first digital innovation platform characterized by three distinctive axes: acceleration of disruptive startups on Artificial Intelligence, tech training for all types of audience, events and contests for the growth and development of the ecosystem.

Educational projects
The educational mission plays an extremely important role within the programming of the OGR – Officine Grandi Riparazioni, a hub dedicated to culture and innovation in the heart of Turin. Reborn in 2017 thanks to the requalification supported and curated by the CRT Foundation, the Turin OGRs have made multidisciplinary production their cornerstone.

Two souls and two vocations intersect within the OGR: the OGR Tech and the OGR Cult, corresponding to the two sleeves of the H-shaped building located in Corso Castelfidardo 22. From the conjunction of the two sections, transversal educational projects are born, designed and designed to involve different audiences, and with particular attention to the public with special needs.

Aware of how much the educational function plays a central role in everyone’s life, OGRs continue to plan activities to be carried out face to face and at a distance. One of the objectives set is to provide useful digital tools to schools and associations, but also to all those who want to deepen topics related to different areas of knowledge.

The focus of the education department of the Turin OGRs is to continue and consolidate joint planning paths with the authorities, schools and the public. The “Education” section of the OGR site is therefore dedicated to all those who intend to discover the existing offer, visit the spaces or work on shared projects.

The temporary health area for COVID-19
The Crisis Unit of the Piedmont Region, together with other entities and the CRT Foundation, launched on the morning of March 28, 2020 the inspections for the installation of a temporary hospital in the structure to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The construction work on the site, which began on 4 April 2020, involved an area of approximately 8,900 m²; a module with 92 seats was created, divided into 4 stabilization posts in intensive emergency, 32 sub-intensive care posts and 56 ordinary hospitalization posts. The inauguration took place on April 18, 2020. The Covid hospital of the Ogrs will cease its activity when the lease expires, on 31 July, and to face the possibility of a new autumn emergency, the structure will be transferred to another area under evaluation.

In addition to health personnel recruited by the Turin ASLs and through temporary recruitment for this purpose, 38 Cuban health workers of the Henry Reeve Brigade (contingent specialized in catastrophes and serious epidemics created by Fidel Castro in 2005) have joined the staff since the opening of the site., including 21 doctors and 16 nurses, accompanied by their logistic coordinator, which the Cuban Ministry of Health assigned to Piedmont accepting the request made by the President of the Region Alberto Cirio through the Cuban Embassy in Italy. The Brigadait declared its willingness to operate for free in Piedmont as long as it was necessary. On 10 July 2020, however, when the epidemiological situation stabilizes, the Brigada ceases its activity in the hospital complex; on 12 July, with a ceremony at the Dora Park, Cuban health workers are awarded a medal for civil merit.