Pier Luigi Nervi (1891 –1979)

Pier Luigi Nervi was an Italian engineer and architect. He attended the Civil Engineering School of Bologna from which he graduated in 1909. He joined the Society for Concrete Construction and, during World War I from 1915 to 1918, served in the Corps of Engineering of the Italian Army. Nervi taught as a professor of engineering at Rome University from 1946 to 1961. From 1961 to 1962 he was the Norton professor at Harvard University.

Nervi began practicing civil engineering after 1923. Nervi is known worldwide for his innovative use of reinforced concrete, especially thin shell structures worldwide.His projects in the 1930s included several airplane hangars in Orvieto (1935) built entirely out of reinforced concrete, and a second set in Orbetello and Torre del Lago (1939) with 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.

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.

Shown here is Nervi's Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco designed with Pietro Belluschi and completed in 1971.
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