WHAT A DIFFERENCE a few years make. Just after Fiat closed the Lingotto car plant in Turin in the mid 1980s, the celebrated architectural critic Reyner Banham made a pilgrimage to its hallowed roofiop test track. Identifjrlng with the modernist pioneers who had come to praise the factory as the embodiment of their love of speed, automobiles and mechanisation sixty years before, Banham took a drive on the circuit - anything else would have been 'almost a blasphemy'. Finding himself at the tail end of an era, Banham could only look back. He feared the hture, doubting that post-industrial Lingotto would live up to its illustrious past.
In her curious cultural history of factories, Gillian Darley also pays a visit to Lingotto, ths time taking a stroll up on the track. where Banham roared around with the ghosts of Marinetti and Le Corbusier, Darley, a former Observer architecture correspondent, watches jogging executives taking a break &m conferences