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Prof. Pier Luigi Nervi- who built Novel RCC Structures

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:06 am    Post subject: Prof. Pier Luigi Nervi- who built Novel RCC Structures Reply with quote

Prof. Pier Luigi Nervi (June 21, 1891 - January 9, 1979) was an Italian engineer. He studied at the University of Bologna and qualified in 1913. Dr. Nervi taught as a professor of engineering at Rome University from 1946-61. He is renowned for his brilliance as a structural engineer and an architect, and for his novel use of reinforced concrete.


Pier Luigi Nervi was born in Sondrio and attended the Civil Engineering School of Bologna, from which he graduated in 1913. After graduation, Nervi joined the Society for Concrete Construction. Nervi spent several years in the Italian army during World War I from 1915–1918, when he served in the Corps of Engineering. His formal education was quite similar to that experienced by today's civil engineering student in Italy.
From 1961-1962 Nervi was the Norton professor at Harvard University.

Civil engineering works

Nervi began practicing civil engineering after 1923, and built several airplane hangars amongst his contracts. During 1940s he developed ideas for a reinforced concrete which helped in the rebuilding of many buildings and factories throughout Western Europe, and even designed/created a boat hull that was made of reinforced concrete as a promotion for the Italian government.

Nervi also stressed that intuition should be used as much as mathematics in design, especially with thin shelled structures. He borrowed from both Roman and Renaissance architecture to create aesthetically pleasing structures, yet applied structural aspects such as ribbing and vaulting often based on nature. This was to improve the structural strength and eliminate the need for columns. He succeeded in turning engineering into an art by taking simple geometry and using sophisticated prefabrication to find direct design solutions in his buildings.
Engineer and architect

Pier Luigi Nervi was educated and practised as a ingegnere edile (translated as "building engineer") - in Italy, at the time (and to a lesser degree also today), a building engineer might also be considered an architect. After 1932, his aesthetically pleasing designs were used for major projects. This was due to the booming number of construction projects at the time which used concrete and steel in Europe and the architecture aspect took a step back to the potential of engineering. Nervi successfully made reinforced concrete the main structural material of the day. Nervi expounded his ideas on building in four books (see below) and many learned papers.

International projects

Most of his built structures are in his native Italy, but he also worked on projects abroad. Nervi's first project in the United States was the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. He designed the roof which consists of triangle pieces which were cast in place. This building is still used today by over 700 buses and their passengers.

Noted works

The Tour de la Bourse in Montreal (1964)Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence (1931)
Exhibition Building, Turin, Italy (1949).
UNESCO headquarters, Paris (1950) (collaborating with Marcel Breuer and Bernard Zehrfuss)

The Pirelli Tower, Milan (1950) (collaborating with Gio Ponti)
Palazzo dello sport EUR (now PalaLottomatica), Rome (1956)

Palazzetto dello sport, Rome (1958),Reinforced concrete ribbed dome with membrane roof, Diameter: 194'

Olympic Stadium, Rome (1960)

Palazzo del Lavoro, Turin (1961)
Palazzetto dello sport, Turin (196
Sacro Cuore (Bell Tower), Firenze (1962)
Paper Mill, Mantua, Italy (1962)

George Washington Bridge Bus Station, New York City (1963)
Tour de la Bourse, Montreal (1964) (collaborating with Luigi Moretti)
Field House at Dartmouth College
Thompson Arena at Dartmouth College (1973–74)

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, California (1967) (collaborating with Pietro Belluschi)

Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City (1971)
Australian Embassy, Paris (1973) Consulting engineer
Good Hope Centre, Cape Town (1976) by Studio Nervi, an exhibition hall and conference centre, with the exhibition hall comprising an arch with tie-beam on each of the four vertical facades and two diagonal arches supporting two intersecting barrel-like roofs which in turn were constructed from pre-cast concrete triangular coffers with in-situ concrete beams on the edges.

Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, VA (1971)

Orvieto Aircraft Hanger

Saint Anselm Parish - Abbey of St. Mary and St. Louis Church- Creve Coeur, Missouri, designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK)and Italian architect and engineer Pier Luigi Nervi serving as consultant


Pier Luigi Nervi was awarded Gold Medals by the Institution of Structural Engineers, the AIA, RIBA and the Académie d'architecture.
He was also awarded the Frank P. Brown Medal of The Franklin Institute in 1957.


Scienza o arte del construire? Bussola, Rome, 1945.
Construire correttamente, Hoepli, Milan, 1954.
Structures, Dodge, New York, 1958.
Aesthetics and Technology in Building. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard, 1966.

Source; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pier_Luigi_Nervi
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