Designed in Italy, Made in Australia exhibition
Through a series of original drawings, 3D models and the reproduction of archival material conserved in Italy and Australia, the exhibition showcases the comprehensive work produced during the 60s and 70s by the world-famous Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi and his office in Rome, Studio Nervi, for Harry Seidler.
Pier Luigi Nervi (1891–1979) was not only a structural engineer but also a revolutionary Italian master builder, architect and artist who forged, through the invention of the Nervi System, a personal and unmistakable structural aesthetic known today as the Nervi Style.
Invented in Italy during the 40s, the Nervi System was subsequently exported worldwide to shape some of the most famous of Nervi’s concrete buildings, including the Field House at Dartmouth College (1965) and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco (1971).
In Australia, the Nervi System was adopted for the first time in the construction of Nervi’s ribbed slab for Australia Square Tower, which was designed by Harry Seidler in 1963. The Italian engineer also designed the famous tapering columns of the iconic circular tower. Together with the coffered slab, this defined the distinctive and soon-celebrated structural expressionism of the building.
The Sydney tower’s indisputable success initiated a fruitful professional collaboration between Rome and Sydney that lasted for more than 15 years.
In telling the story of the Nervi and Seidler collaboration, the exhibition sheds light on unexpected Roman, Milanese and Canadian precedents adopted in the design and construction of some of the most renowned masterpieces of the modern Australian architecture and celebrates the unique designed-in-Italy Nervi style.
The exhibition is designed and curated by Paolo Stracchi, lecturer in Architectural Technology at the Sydney University School of Architecture, Design and Planning.
The Canberra tour of Designed in Italy, Made in Australia: the Australian work of Pier Luigi Nervi has been made possible thanks to generous support from The Italian Cultural Institute Sydney.
This exhibition is sponsored by:
Italian Cultural Institute in Sydney
Under the Patronage of the Embassy of Italy
With the contribution of
Seidler Architectural Foundation
Harry Seidler & Associates
University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning
Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia
Dexus and The GPT Group