ETH Zürich  |  DARCH  |  ITA  |  Structural Design  |  EXCURSIONS  |  SPRING 2018 
Pier Luigi Nervi, Attilio Lapadula: Stabilimento balneare Kursaal, Ostia, 1950
Pier Luigi Nervi, Attilio Lapadula: Stabilimento balneare Kursaal, Ostia, 1950

The Natural Form of Concrete
Ferrocemento & Concrete Experiments in Rome

Su. 18. Su. 25.03.2018 | max. 12 Participants | Cost range D | Poster

Experimental construction was a characteristic feature of concrete structures until the interwar period. For a long time, the concrete skeleton (Hennebique system) dominated the practice; casting as a new method of production and the old construction form were, however, considered contradictory. From practical production, numerous designers developed new forms. One of the most groundbreaking construction methods was proposed by the Italian Pier Luigi Nervi with his "Ferro-Cemento": Instead of formwork, the concrete was applied with trowels to a wire mesh of any shape, which was fixed to supporting bars. In this way, the reinforced concrete not only broke away from the linear skeleton form, but also from the rigid geometry of its formwork. The poured stone was seamless, its shape completely independent. Nervi used the very slim, specially shaped elements extremely cost effectively as finished elements, as formwork, or - most impressively - as lost formwork. Here, material, form, construction and architectural expression are inseparably linked. Some of the most important testimonies to this special search for forms were created in and around Rome in the post-war years.

During the seminar week in Rome we want to understand the essence of modeled concrete. To this end, we will study the method of ferrocemento by designing and producing seating objects in concrete ourselves. In addition, we will visit numerous buildings of the Italian Modernism as well as the long Roman concrete history and put our ideas of construction in order.

Local partners
Prof. Tullia Iori & Prof. Alberto Meda (Università di Roma ′Tor Vergata′)

Alessandro Tellini (Raplab D-ARCH)

Chair of Structural Design
Prof. Dr. Joseph Schwartz
Dr. Mario Rinke -
Lukas Ingold -

Various days of excursions in Rome and the surrounding area and workshop days at the Università di Roma ′Tor Vergata′. Transport, accommodation, guided tours, visits and readers included.

last modified 4.2.2020