26 September 2010

Back from Venice

I'm just back from a few days in Venice attending an IABSE Symposium. I've plenty of things to catch up on, but hopefully will get a chance soon to cover some of the bridges I visited, as well as thoughts on one or two of the papers and presentations which were particularly relevant to this blog.

Amongst many pleasant Venetian things, I also had time to visit an exhibition on the great Italian Engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, which runs at the Palazzo Giustinian Lolin until 14th November. The accompanying catalogue, Pier Luigi Nervi: Architecture as Challenge, is well worth seeking out. The exhibition moves on to MAXXI in Rome in December, and there are plans to bring it to London, Montreal, New York and elsewhere. I find the thought of seeing Nervi at MAXXI somewhat ironic, given his astounding ability to create beauty from the logic of gravity, whereas the MAXXI building's designer, Zaha Hadid, is an architect with a callow disdain for the same logic.

I also visited the Casso di Risparmio di Venezia, a bank building completed by Nervi in 1972, and an excellent chance to see one of his magnificent concrete waffle slab floors. I can't find a photo of the interior online, but there's one of the floor during construction which should give the general idea.

Once I get the Venetian reports done, I hope to get time to feature some of Nervi's bridge designs here. He was hardly noted as a bridge designer, but one of his most ambitious projects was for a crossing of the Straits of Messina, and his other bridge schemes should also be of interest.


Furnival said...

Did you manage to see the Conzett curated Swiss Pavilion at the Biennale? Woefully under advertised at the symposium itself, but a great exhibition of Swiss bridges none-the-less, with some wonderful photos of the various Menn/Conzett/Maillart/etc. masterpieces.

Looking forward to your opinion of the symposium.

The Happy Pontist said...

No, I didn't have time to get to the Biennale. I do hope to pick up Conzett's book which accompanied his exhibition though, when I get a chance.