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During his long career, Pier Luigi Nervi has explored the potential of concrete through the cast-in-place and the prefabrication of elements in reinforced concrete or in ferrocement, a material he invented and patented during the war. All of his best known works such as the Stadium in Florence, the hangars built in Orivieto, Orbetello and Torre del Lago Puccini, the Halls of the Palazzo di Torino Esposizioni in Turin, the Unesco buildings in Paris, the Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome and the Aula per le Udienze in the Vatican represent an important chapter in the history of twentieth century architecture, structure and construction. Nervi’s passion for concrete and formwork manufacturing process is examined in a systematic manner within the volume. The authors illustrate Nervi’s creative process through the examination of unpublished designs, drawings, specifications, building sites pictures and correspondence with colleagues and collaborators.


  • Technical inventions and building site economies: Sidero-cemento, a reinforced concrete – Hyperstatic trusses for roofs and bridges – Reinforced masonry made out of cement-brick blocks – Saw-tooth roofs and skeletons for factories – Invisible cantilevered structures over a void
  • The Stadio Berta and the nature of form: The daring grandstand roof – The first stage of work – Liquid mud and the stadium building site – Bare or clad structure – Construction of the uncovered stands – Construction defects and inspection of the grandstand roof – The Torre di Maratona and the Monumento alla Bandiera, obelisks to fascism – Spiral staircases in the shape of fasces – Curved stands with entrances, or archaic concrete – Building site of the completion – A work of brutal engineering – Cracks in the stadium and Brunelleschi’s dome
  • Reticular structures for the regime: Modern shapes and romanità – Designs for aircraft hangars with an expressive nature – The Orvieto hangars or the power of hyperstatic fasces – Underground anti-aircraft tanks
  • Designs for the Rome Esposizione Universale, shells and autarky: The bar and the spiral – Autarkic concrete – Empathy of the shell structure – Precast concrete blocks for the Arco dell’Impero
  • Prefabrication for military and industrial purposes: The Via della Magliana laboratory and experimental models – Hangars and prefabrication – Virtuoso trusses for autarkic silos – Hulls in reinforced concrete with a geodesic structure – A technique based on absolute style
  • Towards slender construction: The invention of ferro-cementitious felt – Waved slabs in ferro-cementitious felt: the shed in Via della Magliana – Scienza o Arte del Costruire? An apologia for concrete – Prefabrication tests on ferro-cementate – The ornamental ribbed shell at Torre in Pietra – A perforated waved shell at the Fiera di Milano
  • Ferrocement and large shell roofs: Structures of Salone B in Turin, or of the maximum moment of inertia – Patent and designs for waved or curved cement structures – The prefabricated house prototype and the Tortona building site – Salone C for Torino Esposizioni and the patent for “elementi-forma”
  • Strength through form and structural prefabrication: Arcangeli’s floor and Nervi’s formwork – Sliding formwork in ferrocement for ribbed floors – Advent of the variable cross-section pillar – Terminological issues raised by the new formwork – Principles for a theory of structure – Prefabrication for industrial buildings – Penstocks and canal bridges
  • The Unesco Headquarters in Paris: perfect béton brut: Structural icons – Guidelines for exposed concrete, brut and bouchardé – Development of the formwork – Tests on the building site – The pilotis of the Secretariat – The waved walls of the Bâtiment des Conférences – Nature of form of the canopies – The pilotis of Bâtiment III
  • The Nervi system: Bone-like skeletons – Roof shapes, from domes to cross vaults – A sunburst structure: the Palazzetto dello Sport
  • Controlled brutalism: the Palazzo dello Sport: Study and construction of variable cross-section pillars – Floors with isostatic ribs – Prefabrication in ferrocement – Finishing works
  • The mirage of the matter’s essence: Clad or exposed concrete – The Stadio Flaminio in Rome – The aesthetics of exposed concrete
  • Monumental structural architecture: The Turin colossus: Palazzo del Lavoro – The reinforced concrete order – The Burgo paper mill in Mantua and the Fiat water tower in Turin – Expressions of structural architecture – International spread of the Nervi style
  • The last works by Studio Nervi: The Aula per le Udienze in the Vatican, the apotheosis of Baroque – Structures for skyscrapers – Variable cross-section pilotis and decorative ribs – The quadripod of the Italian Embassy in Brazil


Publisher: EPFL Press English Imprint

Author(s): Roberto Gargiani, Alberto Bologna

Collection: Treatise on Concrete

Published: 23 june 2016

Edition: 1st edition

Media: Book

Pages count Book: 432

Format (in mm) Book: 170 x 240

Weight (in grammes): 1240

Language(s): English

EAN13 Book: 9782940222957

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