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Pier Luigi Nervi

Pier Luigi Nervi (June 21, 1891 - January 9, 1979) was an Italian architect and engineer. He studied at the University of Bologna, taking his exam in 1913. He is renowned for his brilliance as a structural engineer and his novel use of reinforced concrete.

Pier Luigi Nervi 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 WWI from 1915-1918. His formal education is quite similar to that experienced by today's engineering student.

Nervi began practicing civil engineering during WWI, when he served in the Corps of Engineering, built several airplane hangers before WWII, designed ferro-cemento after WWII which helped in the rebuilding of many buildings and factories throughout Western Europe, and even designed/created a boat hull that was comprised of ferro-cemento as a promo for the Italian government.

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

Pier Luigi Nervi was known for being a structural engineer, he was also considered an architect. It wasn't up until 1932 that his aesthetically pleasing designs were actually considered in projects. This delay was due to the booming of construction projects which used concrete and steel in Europe and the architecture aspect took a step back to previous styles. He preferred to practice in his native Italy, but also worked on projects abroad. Nervi's first project in the United States was the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. He designed the roof of this project. The roof consists of triangle pieces which were poured in place and this building is still used today by over 700 buses and its passengers.

Tour de la Bourse (1964).
Tour de la Bourse (1964).

Exhibition Building, in Turin, Italy, (1949). 
UNESCO headquarters in Paris (1950) (collaborating with Marcel Breuer and others) 
Palazzetto dello Sport in Rome, Italy (1958) 
Olympic Stadium in Rome (1960) 
Palazzo del Lavoro, in Turin (1961) 
Paper Mill in Mantua, Italy, (1962) 
George Washington Bridge Bus Station in New York City (1963) 
Tour de la Bourse in Montreal (1964) 
Field House at Dartmouth College 
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco, California (1967) (collaborating with Pietro Belluschi) 
Good Hope Centre in 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 constucted from pre-cast concrete triangular coffers with in-situ concrete beams on the edges.