Place: Sauze d’Oulx (TO), Lago Nero

Authors: Carlo Mollino (original project); Giovanni Brino and Giorgio Ranieri (restoration) 

Chronology: 1946 | 1947 (original project); 1999 | 2005 (restoration)

Itinerary: Italy goes on vacation

Use: Ski lift and facilities

Immediately after the end of World War II, skiing tourism in Italy underwent huge development, starting from the French experiences of the twenties and transferred to the Sestriere between 1931 and 1932 by the will of Giovanni Agnelli. The Valle di Susa station system developed in this context. Here, Carlo Mollino designed a ski lift that takes skiers almost to the top of the Triplex mountain, to an altitude of 2,286 meters. The building is one of the most emblematic examples of the brilliant Turinese architect’s eclectic poetics.

On a white reinforced concrete podium is placed a volume entirely covered in boards of treated wood, surmounted by an inverted pitched roof supported by a mixed system of wooden struts and steel trusses.

The building offers a different profile depending on the point from which it is observed: the closed and protected view from downhill opens itself onto a large equipped terrace that emerges from uphill, reaching out to the ski lift.

The large terrace, called “the white pier”, is suspended on two imposing pylons that raise it from the ground. The floor below, originally open, was closed with movable windows in the recent restoration, partially altering the iconic image derived from its bold structural concept.

The restoration, conducted under the guidance of Giovanni Brino and Giorgio Ranieri between 1999 and 2005, allowed adapting the standards to current rules and regulations and strengthening the structure, compromised by years of neglect. It also eliminated the opening on the north side which had been used for the ski lift from 1964 onwards. It completed Mollino’s original project by including some elements which had never been constructed.

Text Fabio Balducci
Photos by Emanuele Piccardo