Parabeton: Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete

Parabeton: Pier Luigi Nervi and Roman Concrete

A film by Heinz Emigholz | 2012 | 100 minutes

PARABETON begins with the first still existing dome structure in Baiae near Naples, built in the first century B.C. It is followed in chronological order by seventeen buildings by the Italian building engineer Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979), including the Pirelli tower in Milan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, the House of Labor in Turin, the grand Sports Arena in Rome and the Papal Audience Hall at the Vatican. These sequences are interrupted by cinematic studies of Ancient Roman concrete constructions from the first century B.C., including the Pantheon and the Caracalla thermal baths in Rome, as well as the Hadrians Villa in Tivolo. Considered by many to be the Architect‘s Architect of the 20th century, Pier Luigi Nervi is the creator of style-forming constructions and a grand master of concrete buildings. In its gorgeous compositions and cinematography, this wondrous documentary suggests a relationship between Nervi‘s bold constructions and the groundbreaking Roman inventions of 2000 years ago.


“A richly rewarding experience. An illuminating documentary on Italian architecture that casts a steadily entrancing spell. The latest in an ongoing series of exquisite architecture documentaries by German veteran Heinz Emigholz.”
– Hollywood Reporter

“The art of concrete as a medium rivets the eye of the film world’s most acute observer of architecture, Heinz Emigholz… The visual pleasure of Emigholz’s work is in its accumulating information – not only seeing and comprehending each building as it appears, but also comparing a given architect’s successive buildings, as if the viewer is in an ever-moving gallery. That’s also the case here, but with the added excitement of alternating between Nervi’s buildings and Roman examples that directly influenced him.”
– Variety