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Parabeton - Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete

PARABETON - PIER LUIGI NERVI AND ROMAN CONCRETE (Parabeton - Pier Luigi Nervi und römischer Beton) Heinz Emigholz, D 2012, 100 min

Photography and beyond – Part 19 / Decampment of Modernism – Part I // The film presents 17 in Italy and France extant buildings by Italian master-builder Pier Luigi Nervi and 10 examples of Ancient Roman architecture made of Opus caementitium.

WORLD PREMIERE AT BERLINALE 2012 / SECTION: FORUM
NOW ON DVD AND BLURAY
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Director's statement:

"PARABETON starts with the first still exstant dome built of concrete by the Romans in the 1st century BC in Baiae near Naples. Followed in chronological sequence by seventeen buildings of Italian civil-engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979) – inventor, grandmaster of concrete structures and the architect's architect of the 20th century: among others the Pirelli-skysraper in Milano, the Headquarters of Unesco in Paris, the Palazzo del Lavoro in Turin,  the Palazzo dello Sport in Rome and the Papal Audience Hall at Vatican City. This succession is from time to time halted by cinematic studies of large Roman structures, among others the Pantheon and the Baths of Caracalla in Rome and Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. In doing so the film relates Nervi's path-breaking constructions with the pioneering Roman inventions in his field 2000 years ago. The 100 minutes long film is the first of two parts of the project Decampment of Modernism with which I will conclude my series Architecture as Autobiography about the origins, fate, glory and decline of modern architecture.  In a way, PARABETON will be the "grand finale" of the series by going back to the Roman origins of the constructional core of Modernism."

We will see (in order of appearance): 

Tempio di Mercurio, Baiae 1st cen. B.C.
Municipal Stadium, Florence 1932
Experimental warehouse, Rome 1945
Tempio di Giove Anxur, Terracina 1st cen. B.C.
Exhibition Hall B, Turin 1948
Exhibition Hall C, Turin 1950
Salt Warehouses, Tortona 1951
Tobacco Factory, Bologna 1953
Terme di Caracalla, Rome 3rd cen A.D.
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris 1958
Pantheon, Rome 2nd cen. A.D.
Small Sports Complex, Rome 1957
Tempio di Minerva, Rome 3rd cen. A.D.
Pirelli Tower, Milan 1958
Flaminio Stadium, Rome 1959
Colosseum e Forum Romanum, Rome 1st cen B.C.
Sports Complex, Rome 1960
Aqua Claudia, Rome 1st cen A.D.
Train Station, Savona 1960
Palace of Labour, Turin 1961
Villa Adriana, Rome 2nd cen. A.D.
Burgo Paper Factory, Mantua 1962
Mausoleo Tor de ’Schiavi, Rome 4th cen. A.D.
Roof of the Cuore Immacolato di Maria Church, Bologna 1962
Palatin and Motor boat in ferro-cement, Rome 1967
Papal Audience Hall, Vatican City, Rome 1971

Pier Luigi Nervi:

For Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), building construction was both an art and a science. From the 1930's on, he designed and built extreme roof and dome constructions and concrete frames for large buildings. His seminal designs and creations remain influencial to this day for arenas, halls and. He used insights from geometry for the development of a new kind of shell construction, generating three-dimensional lattices from concrete ribs covered with concrete surfaces that produced ever-changing images depending on the viewer's perspective.

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