Where eagles dare

After the early twentieth century’s pioneering arch bridges, in the post-war period, reinforced concrete found in viaducts one of the Italian school’s most significant expressions. Pier Luigi Nervi, Riccardo Morandi, Silvano Zorzi and Sergio Musmeci represent many different variations on the theme.

The iron-cement and the building’s in situ prefabrication, used by Nervi for the Olympic structures, including the viaduct of Corso Francia, achieve balance by form. Only some parts are pre-stressed, such as the circular foundation beam of the Palazzetto dello Sport or the “V-shaped” beams of Corso Francia.

In Morandi’s pre-stressed concrete viaducts (the destroyed Polcevera bridge being an emblematic example) the precompressed structures, exhibited in a miraculous balance, recite an essential role in the landscape.

Prefabrication, with new construction systems, is used with elegant sobriety by Zorzi in the viaducts on the Teccio and on Gorsexio, while the Sfallassà viaduct beats all the records for big spans.

In the Basento bridge, finally, Musmeci interprets the tensions in a continuous and protean surface, modifying the project during its realization with continuous variations during construction.

  1. Viaduct of Corso Francia, Rome, Pier Luigi Nervi, 1958-60
  2. Viaduct on fiumara Sfallassà, Bagnara Calabra (RC), Silvano Zorzi, 1972
  3. Viaduct of Industry on the Basento river, Potenza, Sergio Musmeci, 1971-75
  4. Viaduct on the Teccio stream, Quiliano (SV) , Silvano Zorzi, 1973-76
  5. Viaduct on the Gorsexio stream, Mele (GE), Silvano Zorzi, 1973-78
  6. Viaduct I Carpineto sulla Basentana, Riccardo Morandi, 1972-78
Text by Ugo Carughi