By Anne Leader

Architect Pier Luigi Nervi was born on 21 June 1891 in Sondrio. He graduated from the University of Bologna in 1913 with a degree in civil engineering and worked at the Società per Construzione Cimentizia (SCC) in Bologna until 1923.

He then moved to Rome, working at Nervi and Nebbiosi until 1932; Nervi and Bartolia until 1960, and thereafter at Studio Nervi with his sons Antonio, Vittorio and Mario. His projects include stadia, aircraft hangars, exhibition spaces, and other buildings for private and commercial use. Nervi invented a fine cement mix on meshes of small-section steel called ‘ferro-cemento’ that allowed him to cast thin, light membranes. These prefab units allowed him to create extraordinary spaces that were strong, stable, and seemingly weightless. He died on 9 January 1979 in Rome at the age of 88.

Reference: Elizabeth Mitchell Walter. “Nervi, Pier Luigi.” Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press.

Exhibition Building, 1948-9, Turin

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, 1971, San Francisco, CA

Pier Luigi Nervi under the Viaduct of Corso Francia, Rome, ca. 1960, photo Oscar Savio

Artemio Franchi Municipal Stadium, 1929-32, Florence

Orvieto Hangars, 1935, destroyed in WWII

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