The work of Italian engineer and builder Pier Luigi Nervi fascinates and inspires half a century after the completion of his best-known works.
The spiraling, web-like patterns of his 1957 Palazzo dello Sport is still breathtaking in its span, scale, and resolution. Nervi’s buildings were of concrete, a material that in the hands of other designers was often cold or alienating. But Nervi was able to coax concrete into works of great beauty—so much so that Harvard University invited him to deliver the 1961 Norton Lectures in Poetry. Nervi’s technical and philosophical fluency is evident in a reprint of those talks, titled Aesthetics and Technology in Building, and is explored in a new book, Beauty’s Rigor. Together these volumes demonstrate how Nervi’s attention to material and processes forged a unique sensibility that imprinted his work with finely grained patterns that lend his buildings their human scale.
Beauty’s Rigor offers a comprehensive overview of Nervi’s long career. Drawing on the Nervi archives and a wealth of photographs and architectural drawings, Thomas Leslie explores celebrated buildings. What emerges is the first complete account of Nervi’s contributions to modern architecture and his essential role in a revolution that realized concrete’s potential to match grace with strength.
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.he uses his major projects to show how these now-iconic buildings emerged from structural truths and far-sighted construction processes.