Docomomo International is pleased to share the launch of the publication Pier Luigi Nervi in Africa Evoluzione e dissoluzione dello Studio Nervi 1964-1980, written by Micaela Antonucci and Gabriele Neri, published by Quodlibet Studio, 2021. The publication counts with the contribution of Professor Ana Tostões, chair of Docomomo International, who wrote the Introduction Nervi in Africa, la diaspora moderna.
“In the many stories written so far about Pier Luigi Nervi, one of the most famous engineers and architects of the twentieth century, Africa has remained a totally unexplored context. Yet, between 1964 and 1980 Studio Nervi – directed together with his sons Antonio, Mario and Vittorio – developed a dense network of contacts in this continent, which led to the involvement of the group in almost forty projects. There are buildings built (among the most significant, the Good Hope Center in Cape Town, the headquarters of the Banque Africaine de Développement in Abidjan and the presidential chapel of Yamoussoukro), but also many initiatives which, although remaining on paper, reveal a surprising mosaic of relations with the most disparate clients, in South Africa, Ivory Coast, Libya, Congo, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Tanzania and Algeria.
The events of the African works also shed light on the painful transition from the epic phase – now in physiological exhaustion – of Studio Nervi to that marked by the managerial and expressive autonomy of the children, against the background of a profound transformation of professional practice. A passage that could perhaps have led the Firm towards new horizons, but which remained an interrupted path, due to the untimely death of the firstborn Antonio in 1979, six months after his father.
Thanks to in-depth archival research and field surveys, this volume can illustrate, for the first time in an organic way, the activity of Studio Nervi in Africa, analyzing it through different historiographical lenses. Thus the intertwining of professional, political, economic and cultural relations between Italy and Africa emerges against the light, as the postcolonial identity of the great continent is redefined.
As Ana Tostões writes in the introduction, ‘today we are aware that we must include Africa among the geographies of our efforts to achieve a global understanding of the ‘modern diaspora””
To know more about the publication, please go to Quodlibet Studio website. [Italian]