Pier Luigi Nervi

Among the leading architects of the structural architecture of the 20th centuryl, Pier Luigi Nervi (Sondrio, June 21, 1891 – Rome, Jan. 9, 1979) continued his research developed at the beginning of the century by the great engineers as pioneers François Hennebique, France , and subsequently, among others, Robert Maillart in Switzerland. Designer and manufacturer at the same time, as both of his predecessors, Nervi has made, using the same technique of reinforced concrete works of great charm, combining art and science of building.

According to him, the concept of structure is similar to that of the classical period, when the architect was the leading actor in each phase of the construction process, while using current methods and techniques entirely different. In most projects Nervi remained faithful to traditional reinforced concrete – a material that is easy to mold into the desired shapes and tough – trying to develop its full potential, without use of the new technique of prestressed concrete, but instead by exploiting to the maximum, and with great genius, the extraordinary freedom of composition and structural offered by the use of prefabricated elements.

Nervi has based its work, as well as on its solid experience in the design and construction, also on an intelligent intuitive, with a continued strong focus on relationship-shaped structure. He gave such life to a kind of general expression, in which each part of the structure is made strictly according to internal forces which it is subject, and the role it plays is clearly manifested in the overall design.

The first impressive works of Nervi was the stadium of Florence and a number of hangars for the Italian Air Force, built between 1935 and 1940. In these works Nervi pursues a refined formal result, while devoting special attention to economic considerations, causing it to adopt innovative techniques and, in particular in the case of the hangars, to experiment for the first time that use extensive of the prefabricated elements, which will become a constant in a large part of his next production.

After the war Nervi designs and builds some of the most extraordinary works for industrial and civil buildings (the Pirelli skyscraper in Milan together with Gio Ponti, the audience hall at the Vatican), exhibition facilities and sports facilities, in particular in connection with the Olympic games in Rome 1960. Since the fifties became the best-known Italian designer in the international arena, creating works of great prestige in Europe (the UNESCO headquarters in Paris with Bernard Zehrfuss and marcel Breuer), North and South America (the terminal bus New York, the St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the skyscraper Stock Exchange in Montreal, the Italian Embassy in Brasilia, etc.), and Australia (Australia Square Tower in Sydney).

In 2010 Pier Luigi Nervi is celebrated with a major retrospective that international touring, with several cuts always, came from Brussels and Venice, Rome and Turin in December in 2011 will touch Italy and then continue in other European capitals and America.

Each stage deepens one side of this multifaceted engineer symbol of the great moment of Italian engineering after the war.

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