by Ada Louise Huxtable (Author)
Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote this 1960 monograph about the eminent Italian architect and structural engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979).
PIER LUIGI NERVI was born on June 21, 1891, in Sondrio, Italy. In 1913, he finished his formal studies at the University of Bologna’s civil engineering faculty. He worked with the Società for Costruzioni Cementizie until 1920 after graduating, gaining extensive knowledge in reinforced concrete design. In 1920, he created the Soc. Ing. Nervi e Nebbiosi partnership. Several notable constructions were erected under this collaboration, which lasted until 1932, including the Florence Municipal Stadium. Ingg. Nervi e Bartoli, the design and construction firm he commanded, was founded in 1932 by him and a relative; the iconic aeroplane hangars of 1938-1943, which the firm won in a competition, brought Nervi international fame.
In the mid-1940s, he invented the versatile material “Ferro-cementa,” a system of thin steel mesh layers sprayed with cement mortar, which he employed in the Turin Exhibition Hall’s spectacular Grand Salon (1949). With this structure, Nervi cemented his status as one of the world’s leading engineers. This reputation was bolstered by future projects, including completing three stadia for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
He was a member of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM) and a University of Rome Professor of Technology and Construction Techniques. The Institution of Structural Engineers in the United Kingdom, the American Institute of Architects (AIA Gold Medal 1964), and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) all gave him Gold Medals. In 1957, he was awarded the Franklin Institute’s Frank P. Brown Medal and the Wilhelm Exner Medal.
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Pier Luigi Nervi (1891 – 1979) was an Italian architect born in Sondrio, Lombardy. He studied engineering at the University of Bologna, to 1913. Nervi’s taut reinforced concrete buildings were among the most spectacular structures of the twentieth century. Pier Nervi Luigi was the sole child of Sondrio’s postmaster.
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