The BIM Before the BIM, Nervi’s Lesson in Parametric Among Architecture Structure and Construction

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Abstract from the magazine “Digital Modernism Heritage Lexicon”

The relationship between Cultural Heritage and the current digital technologies allows us to critically analyze the Modernist period (1920–1960) and its preeminent figures, who reshaped their environment utilizing practical testing, scientific knowledge, and newtechnologies.

Pier Luigi Nervi is one of themain characters. He considered that proper geometric design involved proper structural and architectural design. Nervi’s system was based on scale models, which let him test the structure and analyze its stability. Stability of structures was one of the fundamental principles of the Nervian approach, along with efficiency and economics. From a theoretical perspective, his methodology is still valid, and it suits the current practice of Building Information Modelling (BIM). The scale model is replaced by a digital model, which is essential for static analysis through FEM (Finite Element Method) that manage complex shape figures. The contribution by Nervi to the history of construction is expressed by his attention to the functionality of the building, by the efficiency in time and cost, thanks to ad hoc techniques and materials. The question that this paper wants to answer is: What would Nervi have done if he had BIM and Visual programming Language (VPL) technology at his disposal?

Grifò A., Borin P., Giordano A. (2022) The BIM Before the BIM, Nervi’s Lesson in Parametric Among Architecture Structure and Construction. In: Bartolomei C., Ippolito A., Vizioli S.H.T. (eds) Digital Modernism Heritage Lexicon. Springer Tracts in Civil Engineering. Springer, Cham.