Nervi, Pier Luigi

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Nervi, Pier Luigi

Pier Luigi Nervi (pyĕr lwōōē´jē nĕr´vē), 1891–1979, Italian architectural engineer. Nervi is considered one of the foremost European architectural designers of the 20th cent. His first large work, the Giovanni Berta stadium at Florence (1930–32), won world acclaim for the daring and beauty of its cantilevered stairs and roof. Nervi experimented with prefabricated elements in the construction of the Italian air force base at Orbetello (1939). In the mid-1940s he developed ferro-cemento, a strong, light material composed of layers of steel mesh grouted together with concrete. With this material he was able to achieve complicated building units for vast and complex structures. His innovations made possible the intricate and beautiful buildings that have brought him world renown. Especially outstanding are his exposition halls at Turin (1949, 1950); the railway station, Naples (1954); and three Olympic buildings in Rome (1956–59). Nervi has also collaborated in such projects as the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Paris (1953–57) and the George Washington Bridge bus station, New York City (1961–62).

See his New Structures (tr. 1963) and Aesthetics and Technology in Building (tr. 1965); study by A. L. Huxtable (1960).

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