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Italian engineer and entrepreneur.

Biographical Information

Name: Pier Luigi Nervi
Born on 21 June 1891 in , Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy, Europe
Deceased on 9 January 1979 in , Roma, Lazio, Italy, Europe
Father of , ,
Place(s) of activity:

Graduates from the engineering department at the University of Bologna with a degree in civil engineering. He then begins to work at the Società per le Costruzioni Cementizie in Bologna and Florence where he remains until 1923.


Founds his own construction firm, Nervi e Nebbiosi, in Rome.

1926 - 1927

Cinema 'Augusteo' in Naples

1930 - 1932

Municipal Stadium in Florence

1932 - 1978

Head and director at Nervi e Bartoli, an engineering and construction company.


Patent on construction of aircraft hangers from prefabricated reinforced concrete sections


Patent on vaults of 300 meter span constructed from prefabricated reinforced concrete sections


Invents 'Ferrocement'

1946 - 1962

Professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Rome.


Honorary Doctorate from the University of Buenos Aires.


Honrary Member, American Institute of Architects.


Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York.
Foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Art at Stockholm.


Brown Medal, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia.


Corresponding Member, Academia Nactional de Ciencias Exactas, Fisicas y Naturales of Buenos Aires.


Royal Gold Medal, Royal Institute of British Architects.
Honorary Doctorates from the University of Edinburgh and the Technische Hochschule in Munich.
Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Boston
Member of the Academy of San Luca, Rome

1960 - 1978

Studio Nervi, an engineering consultancy where Nervi works with his sons Antonio, Mario and Vittorio.


Honorary Doctorate, University of Warsaw
Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard Universiy


Honorary Member, American Concrete Institute.


Honorary Member, AICAP Italian Reinforced and Prestressed Concrete Association.

Structures and Projects

Biography from Wikipedia

Pier Luigi Nervi (21 June 1891 – 9 January 1979) was an Italian engineer and architect. He studied at the University of Bologna graduating in 1913. Nervi taught as a professor of engineering at Rome University from 1946 to 1961 and is known worldwide as a structural engineer and architect and for his innovative use of reinforced concrete.


Pier Luigi Nervi was born in Sondrio and attended the Civil Engineering School of Bologna from which he graduated in 1913; his formal education was quite similar to that experienced today by Italian civil engineering students. After graduating he joined the Society for Concrete Construction and, during World War I from 1915 to 1918, he served in the Corps of Engineering of the Italian Army. From 1961 to 1962 he was the Norton professor at Harvard University.

Civil engineering works

Nervi began practicing civil engineering after 1923. His projects in the 1930s included several airplane hangars that were important for his development as an engineer. A set of hangars in Orvieto (1935) were built entirely out of reinforced concrete, and a second set in Orbetello and Torre del Lago (1939) improved the design by using a lighter roof, precast ribs, and a modular construction method.

During the 1940s he developed ideas for reinforced concrete which helped in the rebuilding of many buildings and factories throughout Western Europe, and even designed and created a boat hull that was made of reinforced concrete as a promotion for the Italian government.

Nervi also stressed that intuition should be used as much as mathematics in design, especially with thin shell structures. He borrowed from both Roman and Renaissance architecture while applying ribbing and vaulting to improve strength and eliminate columns. He combined simple geometry and prefabrication to innovate design solutions.

Engineer and architect

Pier Luigi Nervi was educated and practised as an ingegnere edile (translated as "building engineer") – in Italy. At the time (and to a lesser degree also today), a building engineer might also be considered an architect. After 1932, his aesthetically pleasing designs were used for major projects. This was due to the booming number of construction projects at the time which used concrete and steel in Europe and the architecture aspect took a step back to the potential of engineering. Nervi successfully made reinforced concrete the main structural material of the day. Nervi expounded his ideas on building in four books (see below) and many learned papers.

Archeological excavations suggested that he may have some responsibilities for the Flaminio stadium foundations passing through ancient Roman tombs.

International projects

Most of his built structures are in his native Italy, but he also worked on projects abroad. Nervi's first project in the United States was the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, for which he designed the roof, which consists of triangular pieces that were cast in place. This building is still used today by over 700 buses and their passengers.

Noted works

  • Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence (1931)
  • Ugolino Golf House, Impruneta, Italy (1934) (collaborating with Gherardo Bosio)
  • Torino Esposizioni, Turin, Italy (1949).
  • UNESCO headquarters, Paris (1950) (collaborating with Marcel Breuer and Bernard Zehrfuss)
  • The Pirelli Tower, Milan (1950) (collaborating with Gio Ponti)
  • Palazzo dello sport EUR (now PalaLottomatica), Rome (1956)
  • Palazzetto dello sport, Rome (1958)
  • Stadio Flaminio, Rome (1957)
  • Palazzo del Lavoro [it], Turin (1961)
  • Palazzetto dello sport, Turin (1961)
  • Sacro Cuore (Bell Tower), Firenze (1962)
  • Paper Mill, Mantua, Italy (1962)
  • George Washington Bridge Bus Station, New York City (1963)
  • Australia Square tower, Sydney (1964) Architect: Harry Seidler & Associates
  • Tour de la Bourse, Montreal (1964) (collaborating with Luigi Moretti)
  • Leverone Field House at Dartmouth College
  • Sede Centrale della Banca del Monte di Parma, Parma (1968, collaboration with Giovanni Ponti, Antonio Fornaroli, and Alberto Rosselli)
  • Edmund Barton Building (also published as Trade Group Offices), Canberra (1970), Australia. Architect Harry Seidler & Associates
  • MLC Centre, Sydney (1973) Architect: Harry Seidler & Associates
  • Thompson Arena at Dartmouth College (1973–74)
  • Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco, California (1967) (collaborating with Pietro Belluschi)
  • Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City (1971)
  • Australian Embassy, Paris (1973) Consulting engineer. Architect. Harry Seidler & Associates
  • Good Hope Centre, 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 constructed from pre-cast concrete triangular coffers with in-situ concrete beams on the edges.
  • Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, VA (1971)


Pier Luigi Nervi 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, received the Frank P. Brown Medal of The Franklin Institute and the Wilhelm Exner Medal.


  • Scienza o arte del costruire? Bussola, Rome, 1945.
  • Costruire correttamente, Hoepli, Milan, 1954.
  • Structures, Dodge, New York, 1958.
  • Aesthetics and Technology in Building. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard, 1966.

Text imported from Wikipedia article "Pier Luigi Nervi" and modified on 22 July 2019 under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license.


  1. Nervi, Pier Luigi (1960): Estadio Flaminio. Roma. In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 12, n. 120 (April 1960), pp. 65-70.


  2. Nervi, Pier Luigi (1965): Depósito elevado para la Fiat. In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 18, n. 172 (July 1965), pp. 79-86.


  3. Nervi, Pier Luigi (1965): Cubierta suspendida para una nave industrial, en Mantua (Italia). In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 18, n. 174 (October 1965), pp. 71-74.


  4. Nervi, Pier Luigi (1966): El estadio cubierto de Dartmouth, Estados Unidos. In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 19, n. 184 (October 1966), pp. 73-77.


  5. Nervi, Pier Luigi (1949): Le hall du Palais des Expositions du Valentino, à Turin. In: La Technique des Travaux, v. 25, n. 9-10 (September 1949), pp. 272-278.
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