Pier Luigi Nervi – Architecture as challenge

April 18 – June 22, 2013


April 17, 2013
Inaugural lecture
Sergio Poretti, professor, Tor Vergata University in Rome
Mr. Marco Nervi, Mrs. Cristiana Chiorino, Mrs. Joëlle Neuenschwander, Prof. Aurélio Muttoni

April 24, 2013
Manuel Cresciani, architect et professor,  Northumbria University in Newcastle
Claudio Greco, architect and civil engineer, professor at University Tor Vergata, Rome

May 1, 2013
Pepa Cassinello, professor at the Technical University of Madrid
Marzia Marandola, Engineer and researcher, University La Sapienza, Rome

May 8, 2013
Mario A. Chiorino, Emeritus Professor of the  DISEG, Turin
Aurelio Muttoni, Engineer and professor, EPFL

May 22, 2013
International Study day organised by the TSAM

This exhibition dedicated to the career and work of the iconic engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979) provides the opportunity to promote the ENAC’s interdisciplinarity and highlight engineer-designers’ influence on the evolution of architecture.
Pier Luigi Nervi, architecture as challenge is the first major retrospective on his career. A new light is shone on Nervi that brings to the fore the influence his work had on contemporary culture through a collection of architecture models, as-of-now unpublished drawings, photographs and films. Nervi devoted himself to researching innovative technologies and the creation of new materials. He developed ‘ferro-cemento’ in the mid-1940s, a light yet solid material composed of steel meshes embedded in concrete. This breakthrough rendered possible the complexity and beauty of his world-renowned buildings.
Nervi is both an engineer-designer and a builder. He drew inspiration and evolved between his studio and firm, where Italian artisan tradition is applied to prefabrication and monumentalism. It became a family business that flourished on all continents when three of his sons joined: Antonio and Vittorio as architects and Mario as an engineer.
Three recent studies on Nervi’s work by ENAC students are included in the exhibition. The first is in civil engineering, where a component of the Vatican’s audience hall was created in an update on ferro-cemento, with the aim of perfecting the material’s form and robustness. The second is a detailed study of the Palazzo del Lavoro (‘Palace of Work’) in Turin, exploring it in models and a series of beautiful drawings. It was created under the guidance of a studio dedicated to the restoration of modern architecture. The third study was accomplished within a history of concrete module and analyses the complexity and unique construction of the Gatti wool factory in Rome through a model and a film. These three pieces of research are contemporary reactions to the innovations of the engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, who thirty years after his death has not lost any of his exceptional relevance.

Scientific Committee of the exhibition:

Carlo Olmo, Politecnico di Torino, Président
Joseph Abram, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Nancy
Barry Bergdoll, Columbia University – Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gloria Bianchino, Università degli Studi di Parma, CSAC
Mario Alberto Chiorino, Politecnico di Torino
Alessandro Colombo, Milano
Margherita Guccione, MAXXI Architettura, Roma
Tullia Iori, Università degli Studi di Roma «Tor Vergata»
Sergio Pace, Politecnico di Torino
Sergio Poretti, Università degli Studi di Roma «Tor Vergata»
Christophe Pourtois, CIVA, Bruxelles
Marcelle Rabinowicz, CIVA, Bruxelles
Francesco Romeo, Università degli Studi di Roma «La Sapienza»
Francine Vanlaethem, Université du Québec à Montréal – UQAM, Montréal

Pier Luigi Nervi
Pier Luigi Nervi

Exhibition views