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Italian engineer.

Biographical Information

Name: Riccardo Morandi
Born on 1 September 1902 in , Roma, Lazio, Italy, Europe
Deceased on 25 December 1989 in , Roma, Lazio, Italy, Europe

Graduates from the Scuola di Applicazione per Ingegneri

1927 - 1930

Works in Calabre earthquake disaster zone where he finishes his training;
designs churches


Returns to Rome and founds Studio Morandi

1933 - 1939

Works on the halls for the Augustus Cinema and the Giulio Cesare Cinema (Rome)


Patents the Sistema Morandi

1959 - 1969

Professor of forms and structures of bridges at the architecture faculty in Florence

1969 - 1972

Professor of bridge construction at the engineering faculty in Rome

Structures and Projects

Biography from Wikipedia

Riccardo Morandi (1 September 1902 – 25 December 1989) was an Italian civil engineer best known for his innovative use of reinforced concrete and prestressed concrete, although over the years some of his particular cable-stayed bridges have had some maintenance trouble.

Amongst his best-known works are the General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge, an 8 km (5 mi) crossing of Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela; a similar cable-stayed bridge commonly known as Ponte Morandi in Genoa, which partially collapsed in 2018 for reasons under investigation; and the Subterranean Automobile Showroom in Turin.


Morandi was born in Rome. After his graduation in 1927, Morandi gained experience in Calabria working with reinforced concrete in earthquake-damaged areas. On his return to Rome to open his own office, he continued with his technical exploration of reinforced and prestressed concrete structures and embarked on the design of a series of novel cinema structures and bridges. His numerous later works include his work on the Fiumicino Airport (Rome) in 1970, and Pumarejo bridge (Colombia) in 1974.

Morandi was appointed professor of bridge design both at the University of Florence and the University of Rome, became a Fellow of the "Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" (FRSA) in 1963, and get a honorary doctorate in architecture by Technical University of Munich (T.U.M.) on 1979.

Criticism of the cable-stayed bridges of Morandi

Morandi's cable-stayed bridges are characterised by very few stays, often as few as two per span, and often with the spans constructed from prestressed concrete rather than the more-usual steel.

Although these bridges are often impressive, they are less economic than bridges with multiple stays and have therefore been of little influence on other engineers. Bridges by Morandi have proved to require extensive maintenance and repairs over the years to pass bridge safety inspections, and cables embedded in concrete are difficult to inspect.

On his General Rafael Urdaneta Bridge in Venezuela - where the cables of the stays are not covered with prestressed concrete (as instead intended from the initial project, and optimal for Morandi) - several exposed cables snapped from rapid corrosion, and all the stay-cables were replaced just 18 years after construction.

In 2016, Ponte Morandi in Genoa had been described as a "failure of engineering", with escalating maintenance costs to keep it safe. In reality since the 1970s Morandi acknowledged, and reported, the incorrect structural response of his Genoa bridge and the related safety risk, mentioning an unexpectedly fast corrosion as a possible reason for the problems, and requiring corrective work.
Pier number 9 of the bridge collapsed on 14 August 2018, causing 43 fatalities. The other two stayed-piers remained standing, as did the other eight non-stayed piers. The cause of the collapse was still under investigation eleven months later.

Morandi's similar but smaller Wadi el Kuf Bridge, in Libya, during October 2017 was closed for 2 days for safety reasons after inspections identified potential fractures in the bridge (After the alert, road transport engineers inspected the bridge and said that it needed only emergency maintenance and was safe; then was open again for light traffic, while local security officials are stopping heavily-loaded trucks from crossing in groups). Similar security alert follow in August 2018, but about this not other specific information is available about the bridge status (if closed or still open, exactly structure problems).

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


  1. Morandi, Riccardo (1960): Centro experimental. Roma. In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 12, n. 120 (April 1960), pp. 59-62.


  2. Morandi, Riccardo (1965): La central electronuclear de Garellano (Italia). In: Informes de la Construcción, v. 18, n. 175 (November 1965), pp. 73-79.


  3. Morandi, Riccardo (1961): The Bridge Spanning Lake Maracaibo. In: PCI Journal, v. 6, n. 2 (June 1961), pp. 12-27.


  4. Morandi, R. (1973): Construcción de puentes de hormigón pretensado, de gran luz, con tirantes homogeneizados. In: Hormigón y acero, v. 24, n. 109 (3rd Quarter 1973), pp. 95-116.
  5. Morandi, Riccardo (1971): Centre de maintenance pour boeing 747 de l'Alitalia à l'aéroport de Rome-Fiumicino. In: La Technique des Travaux, v. 47, n. 7-8 (July 1971), pp. 231-240.
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