Damaged by fire: Palazzo del Lavoro
by Pier Luigi Nervi and Antonio Nervi, Turin, Italy, 1959-1961
DATE: 2/9/2015
The Palazzo del Lavoro (Labour Palace) designed by the architect Pier Luigi Nervi together with Antonio Nervi, in Turin, built between 1959-1961, is under threat after having been damaged by fire on last August 20th night. This significant Modern Movement masterpiece was built within the framework of the Centenary of the Italian Unification celebrations – Italia ’61 – in order to host the international section dedicated to the myths of labour and technical progress.

The building, listed by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 2011 (according to D. Leg.vo n.42/2004) has faced, over time, some reuse problems. “Progressive inappropriate usage and related unsuitable interventions, internal additions, and a total lack of essential maintenance have strongly harmed the appearance of the building and the durability of its structural and architectural components.”

A Master plan approved by the Turin City Council and dating back to 2008, referred to the transformation of the Palazzo del Lavoro into a shopping centre, together with some facilities that accompany, like boutiques, restaurants, public recreational spaces and a large car parking. This decision was blocked in 2012 and, therefore, this iconic building continues to face a neglected scenario and an awful state of abandon.

Being an important example of Modern Movement architecture in Italy, with great historic interest, “symbol of an extraordinary typological exactness and of an extreme constructional coherence in terms of absolute integration between structural and architectural invention”, we have a duty to preserve its original principals and maintain its legacy within the international world of architecture, urbanism and landscape.

Thus, a new re-use and transformation project must be undertaken with the monitoring of a scientific board of experts.

For that reason, docomomo International would like to express its fully support to the conducted efforts being carried on by the architects and experts worldwide, particularly by the PLN Project and the PhD architect Cristiana Chiorino (docomomo International member and Scientific advisor to Pier Luigi Nervi Knowledge and Management Project Association for the conservation of Nervi’s architectural heritage), with the intention of defending and promoting the preservation and the respectful reuse of Palazzo del Lavoro, according to its original design and pursuing the final aim of obtaining its insertion in the UNESCO World Heritage List (together with another Nervi’s building: the Torino Esposizioni Hall).

Ana Tostões, Chair of docomomo International, addressed a formal letter to the local authorities, in Turin, in order to call the attention to the necessity of safeguarding and preserving the Palazzo del Lavoro. The formal letters can be downloaded in PDF below.

Anyone interested can sign the petition by sending an e-mail with contact information to the PhD architect Cristiana Chiorino: cristiana@pierluiginervi.org

Texts by the PhD architect Cristiana Chiorino, docomomo Italy member, advisor for the preservation of the architectural heritage for the Pier Luigi Nervi Project Association chaired by Marco Nervi.