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Home | tamtam | Archivio | Anno 2006 | 2006/s | Art comes into the open

In the midst of a frenzy of urban activity that in recent years has seen the identity and geography of Torino undergo a progressive transformation, 2001 saw the opening, following a trial period, of OfficinaCittàTorino - the city’s new Urban Center.

This is new territory for Torino, but the idea has already been tested with success throughout Europe. The Urban Center project was envisaged as a specialised branch of the Planning department of the City of Torino, and OfficinaCittàTorino (OCT) has been set up as a knowledge lab providing information on and a deeper understanding of the layout and cityscape of contemporary Torino.

At the heart of the project is the current status of the city in relation to its past and future, with attention focusing on specific sites and the various phases of Torino’s transformation process. Stemming from technical and cultural roots alike, the project is dedicated to the city and designed as a response to the growing demand for information and understanding, and for constructive encounters between citizens, professionals, institutional bodies and the entire community.

The period 2002-05 saw the mature development of OfficinaCittàTorino, where initiative areas, aims and various tools were made available. The system of co-ordinated activities includes:

  • A series of meetings under the title “Torino: architectural culture for the development of the city” focusing on the city’s development policies.
  • Information activities around the urban transformation website (which has 20 themed sections) and a periodic newsletter which now has 3,200 subscriptions.
  • Publishing through the “Multimedia Tales” series, which now has 6 titles on sale in 10 bookshops across the city.
  • The creation and development of the OCT Multimedia Archive, the first step towards a centre documenting contemporary Torino.
  • The development of intersectoral projects.
  • A wide range of educational activities (of which there have been 15 meetings in the last two years).
  • Close examination of transformation and regeneration projects relating to the historical, environmental and documentary value of the architectural heritage of Torino.

In July 2005, having reached a significant level of growth, the OCT Urban Center split into two independent bodies, allowing for more effective development of programmes of cultural and technical activities on their respective fronts. The OfficinaCittàTorino branch, situated within the Vice General Directorate of the Mayor’s Cabinet Office and Cultural Services, or, more specifically, within the Torino City Council Museum Services Co-ordination Office, now reports to the Department of Culture. The Metropolitan Urban Center has recently been transferred to Torino Internazionale, where it provides technical services to the metropolitan area.

With all of this up and running, OfficinaCittàTorino finally became part the network of bodies that make up the Cultural Services Division, which concerns itself with enhancing Torino’s cultural heritage and image. Thanks to its position within the Coordinated Museum Services, OCT is involved in synergies looking into areas of development that the Sector for Education on Cultural Heritage had already begun some years ago. Altogether this constitutes an important step in the City’s drive towards a project of empowerment that is dedicated to an understanding of how all the various traces and legacies of the past are linked through specific sites to the modern urban culture and to future prospects for local development. In this new position OCT has both confirmed existing cultural activities as well as committed itself to the development of and collaboration in future intersectoral projects.

In 2006 it will coordinate the “Public Art and Monuments” project. This will centre around the changing role of monuments in public spaces and the public acquisition of contemporary art, both aspects for which Torino has become an international point of reference. Developed in tandem with the City’s technical departments responsible for conservation initiatives and the maintenance of monuments and with the expert collaboration of curators and specialists, the project will start out from publicising and monitoring monuments and contemporary artworks in public spaces in the city, both existing ones and those yet to come. This is an important cultural focus for Torino and its international development.

Mariella Perletti
OfficinaCittàTorino Manager

 © Torino Internazionale 2006