Northwestern University

Wed 4:00 PM

Special Joint Structural and Architecture Seminar: Tom Leslie

When: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM  

Where: Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center, ITW Classroom (1-340), 2133 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Tierney Acott   847.491.3257

Group: McCormick - Civil and Environmental Engineering

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Beauty’s Rigor: Patterns of Production in the Work of Pier Luigi Nervi

Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979) was Italy’s greatest engineer and builder in the decades following WWII. His designs for web-like arena roofs and soaring exhibition structures were matched by innovative designs for freeway overpasses, aircraft hangars, exhibition halls, and stadium roofs. Often called a “poet in concrete,” Nervi achieved global fame when his arena roofs for the 1960 Rome Olympics were broadcast worldwide.  Beauty’s Rigor shows that Nervi’s genius arose from a careful attention to construction and fabrication.  Nervi was not only a structural engineer, but also a contractor; his firm constructed many of his best-known buildings in addition to designing them.  This dual focus, on engineering and construction, set him apart from most other designers of his generation; Nervi’s career offers important insights for engineers and architects today as a result.

I teach building design, technology, and history as the Pickard Chilton Professor in Architecture at Iowa State University. My studio, lecture, and seminar courses stress the interaction and integration of building science, function, and aesthetics. I teach and co-coordinate Iowa State's Comprehensive Design Studio, our graduate technologies sequence, and occasional seminars on the history of building technology and construction. These courses have been recognized with awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the American Institute for Architects, and have formed the basis for Design-Tech: Building Science for Architects, an introductory textbook written with my colleague, Jason Alread. 
My research focuses on historical examples of this integration, particularly the work of architect Louis I. Kahn (Louis I. Kahn: Building Art, Building Science, 2005) and early Chicago skyscrapers (Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934). My research has been published in Technology and Culture, the Journal of Architectural Education, Space and Culture, and Design Issues, and it has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. In 2007 I was a Visiting Professor at the Bauhaus-Universität in Weimar, Germany and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and am currently an Eshbach Visiting Scholar at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering.
Prior to my appointment at Iowa State, I was an Associate with Foster and Partners, London, where I worked on the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Stanford University's Center for Clinical Sciences Research, and the Al Faisaliah Center in Riyadh.

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