Contemporary Architecture

Palazzetto dello Sport – Pieri Luigi Nervi

This research on Palazzetto dello Sport by Pieri Luigi Nervi was was done for a class presentation . I found it quite difficult to accumulate data on this building. The internet seems to have very little info on it. So here is a comprehensive study of the palazzatto dello Sport.

The study on this building was done before I actually reached Rome during my summer Internship. Believe it or not,  I actually saw this building quite accidentally. The thought of this being in Rome never occurred to me during my visit. I was on my way back to the railway station after visiting the MAXXI by Zaha Hadid when I actually came a cross this structural wonder.

Do go through the slideshow at the end for a good collection of images. You can also find some rare ones which i managed to scan from our Insti library books.

General Facts:
Location: Rome, Italy.
Building Type: Indoor Arena
Built for the 1960 Summer Olympics, it has a 3,500 seating capacity.
It hosted boxing among other sports during the Olympic Games.
Presently the Palazzetto dello Sport hosts the volley matches.

Key features:
Innovative Concrete Dome
Continuous ribbon windows
The elegantly ribbed, white-painted concrete ceiling.

Structural Design Innovation:

The principles of isostatic stress to minimize the material requirements of steel-reinforced, concrete, long-span structures.The pre-cast, vaulted ribs and fan-shaped, ribbed support columns of this 330 ft. dome follow the isostatic lines of principle stress, those in which theoretically no shear stress is induced, thus reducing the total use of concrete.
The ribbing of the dome and fans also provide a lateral loading system, by maximizing the cross-sectional area of the dome, accommodating for asymmetrical loading conditions.
Nervi’s plastic use of steel-reinforced concrete expressed the lines of principle stress with a marriage of aesthetics and engineering efficiency.By slowly deconstructing the Palazzo dello Sport, we may trace the primary force members (from the dome through its 48 fanned structural members and inclined support columns) as they transmit their load to the foundation along the tangent plane from the thrust of the dome, seating banks and peripheral gallery.
Note particularly the angular displacement of the primary columns as the resultant shifts to accommodate the thrust of the dome and gallery roof.

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11 thoughts on “Palazzetto dello Sport – Pieri Luigi Nervi”

  1. Hello,

    I am doing a research project on Nervi’s Palazzetto dello Sport. The images you posted are very helpful. Could you please tell me some of the sources you used to find these images? Thanks very much.


    1. Most the images,I believe, are from and a book on 20th century architecture…. Check out any book on 20th century architecture… you will surely find something useful….. Getting plans and drawings are easier compared to understanding the structural innovations of the project….


  2. Hello there, i just had an assignment from uni about this interesting building, and i would like to thank you so much for the detailed structural information since it was very useful! cheers.


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  4. Hello there, i just had an assignment from uni about this interesting building, and i would like to thank you so much for the detailed structural information since it was very useful! cheers


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