Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979) earned his diploma in engineering in 1913 and always considered himself a civil engineer rather than an architect. For him, building construction was both an art and a science. Since the 1930‘s, he has designed and built extreme roof and dome constructions and concrete frames for large buildings. An ingenious concrete constructor and frame planner, Nervi regularly collaborated with other architects. His own designs and creations remain style-forming to this day for arenas, halls and skyscrapers – cantilevered roof constructions, sweeping staircases, arches held by diagonally crossing strutted concrete beams, corrugated concrete elements and sail-shaped and triangular concrete constructions for columnless cupola roofs. He used insights from geometry for the development of a new kind of shell construction, generating three-dimensional lattices from concrete ribs covered with concrete surfaces. Nervi also developed a budget-friendly economical style of construction with ready-made concrete modules. When looked at from differing perspectives, his netlike arches constantly create new, almost ornamental, moiré-like images. The introduction of steel framework has enabled a separation between function and decoration, but in Nervi‘s work, as with Maillart, Ferro concrete shapes its constructions and simultaneously turns functional primary structures into complex geometric patterns. The patterns vary depending on the viewer‘s position and can be understood as ornamentations that owe their aesthetic appeal to the material they have been crafted from.

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