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Aesthetics and Technology in Building

The Twenty-First-Century Edition

Architectural visions of concrete and beauty

The UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The Pirelli skyscraper in Milan. The Palazetto dello Sport in Rome. The "soaring beauty" of Pier Luigi Nervi's visionary designs and buildings changed cityscapes in the twentieth century. His uncanny ingenuity with reinforced concrete, combined with a gift for practical problem solving, revolutionized the use of open internal space in structures like arenas and concert halls.

Aesthetics and Technology in Building: The Twenty-First-Century Edition introduces Nervi's ideas about architecture and engineering to a new generation of students and admirers. More than 200 photographs, details, drawings, and plans show how Nervi put his ideas into practice. Expanding on the seminal 1961 Norton Lectures at Harvard, Nervi analyzes various functional and construction problems. He also explains how precast and cast-in-place concrete can answer demands for economy, technical and functional soundness, and aesthetic perfection. Throughout, he uses his major projects to show how these now-iconic buildings emerged from structural truths and far-sighted construction processes.

This new edition features dozens of added images, a new introduction, and essays by Joseph Abram, Robert Einaudi, Alberto Bologna, and Gabriele Neri on Nervi's life, work, and legacy.

Publication supported by a grant from the Iowa State University Publication Endowment Fund


Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979) was one of Europe's leading architects and most innovative structural engineers from the 1930s to his death. Cristiana Chiorino is an architect based in Turin and coeditor of Pier Luigi Nervi: Architecture as Challenge. Elisabetta Margiotta Nervi is Secretary General of the Pier Luigi Nervi Project in Brussels. Thomas Leslie is the Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture at Iowa State University. He is the author of Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 and Beauty's Rigor: Patterns of Production in the Work of Pier Luigi Nervi.

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