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The Plan[t] to Feed the City

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: The Plant (renewal of the Peer Foods factory)
Place: Chicago, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The conveyor rails once used to move slaughtered hogs are still hanging from the ceiling in the former Peer Foods factory – one of the last meatpacking plants to close in Chicago. It shut its doors in 2007. It was by observing something similar that Henry Ford, as he states in his 1922 autobiography My Life and Work, understood the potential of employing moving conveyor system and fixed work stations in manufacturing. If you could disassemble a hog this way, you could reverse the process and assemble a car.

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RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Preface excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

Several tracks brought me to write this book.

The first one is biographical. A regular, well-educated student, fascinated by the irregular creativity of squatted places and the beauty of industrial icons, I grew up as an architect in during a time when my city – Torino, the powerhouse of Italian manufacturing – saw 100 million square feet of factories emptied of workers and production within a few years. The instinctive attraction for the opposite became a professional commitment to urban regeneration and architectural reuse projects and, eventually, daily living experience: these lines are written from my desk, in a former coffee factory in the core of industrial Torino, now home to my family.

Lingotto Building, Torino, Italy
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From Biscuits to Bits at Bakery Square

Author: Matteo Robiglio
Excerpt from the book RE-USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse
Project: Bakery Square (renewal of the Nabisco factory)
Place: Pittsburgh, USA
Photography: Matteo Robiglio

The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory on Penn Avenue, built in 1918, was part of a nationwide expansion plan. In-house architect Albert G. Zimmermann designed the new seven-story plant in compliance with the company’s values of style and worker dignity. Its large windows for natural lightning, showers and locker rooms for employees, and fireproof stairways made it a point of reference even before construction – it was already written about in 1912 and 1916. Other bakeries opened around Nabisco along and near Penn Avenue in the 1920s and 30s.

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