See his New Structures (tr. 1963) and Aesthetics and Technology in Building (tr. 1965); study by A. L. Huxtable (1960).
(born June 21, 1891, Sondrio, Italy—died Jan. 9, 1979, Rome) Italian engineer and building contractor. He became internationally renowned for his invention of ferro-cement, a material of his own invention composed of dense concrete heavily reinforced with evenly distributed steel mesh that together give it both lightness and strength. His first significant projects included a series of airplane hangars in Italy (1935–41) conceived as concrete vaults with huge spans. In addition to designing buildings, he succeeded in building a sailboat with a ferro-cement hull only 0.5 in. (1.25 cm) thick. Ferro-cement was vital to his complex for the Turin Exhibition (1949–50), a prefabricated, corrugated cylindrical 309-ft (93-m) arch. Nervi worked on the UNESCO headquarters in Paris (1950) with Marcel Breuer and helped design Italy's first skyscraper, the Pirelli Building in Milan (1955–59). Although Nervi's primary concern was never aesthetic, many of his works nonetheless achieved remarkable expressive force.
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Nervi began practicing civil engineering after 1923, and built several airplane hangars amongst his contracts. During 1940s he developed ideas for a reinforced concrete which helped in the rebuilding of many buildings and factories throughout Western Europe, and even designed/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 shelled structures. He borrowed from both Roman and Renaissance architecture to create aesthetically pleasing structures, yet applied structural aspects such as ribbing and vaulting often based on nature. This was to improve the structural strength and eliminate the need for columns. He succeeded in turning engineering into an art by taking simple geometry and using sophisticated prefabrication to find direct design solutions in his buildings.