This book by Pulitzer-Prize-winning critic Ada Louise Huxtable is a monograph on the great Italian architect and structural engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), which was first published in 1960.
PIER LUIGI NERVI was born in Sandrio, Italy, on June 21, 1891. He completed his formal studies at the civil engineering school of the University of Bologna in 1913. After graduating, he worked for the Società per Costruzioni Cementizie until 1920, receiving thorough experience in the design of reinforced concrete. In 1920 he formed the partnership of Soc. Ing. Nervi e Nebbiosi. During this association, which lasted until 1932, several noteworthy structures were built, especially the Florence Municipal Stadium. In 1932 he joined with a cousin to form Ingg. Nervi e Bartoli, the design and construction firm which he headed; the famous airplane hangars of 1938-1943, won by the firm in competition, brought Nervi international attention.
In the mid-1940s he developed the versatile material “Ferro-cementa,” a system of layers of fine steel mesh sprayed with cement mortar, which he used in the extraordinary Grand Salon of the Turin Exhibition Hall (1949). With this, building, Nervi became firmly established as one of the world’s foremost engineers, a reputation reinforced again and again by subsequent works, including the completion of three stadia for the 1960 Olympics in Rome.
A member of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM), he was also Professor of Technology and Construction Techniques at the University of Rome. He was awarded Gold Medals by the Institution of Structural Engineers in the UK, the American Institute of Architects (AIA Gold Medal 1964) and the RIBA. In 1957, he received the Frank P. Brown Medal of The Franklin Institute and the Wilhelm Exner Medal.
Pier Luigi Nervi died on January 9, 1979 at the age of 87.