The "Lino Gentilini" Prize for the History of Structural Engineering

The “Lino Gentilini” Prize for the History of Structural Engineering

Presenting its second edition this year, the Lino Gentilini Prize, established by the Eng. Lino Gentilini Foundation and with the collaboration of the University of Trento, intends to encourage historical research in the field of engineering, by enhancing thesis and doctoral works in both the Italian and international fields.

In the first case, the prize is intended for university graduates, who have obtained the second level qualification (specialization or master’s degree) at an Italian university, while in the second case the award is intended for those who have obtained the title of doctor of research (PhD) at a university in the countries belonging to the Council of Europe.

The Lino Gentilini Award intends in particular to enhance research on the history of structural engineering, from a multidisciplinary, comparative and critical perspective. Therefore, by adhering to a historiographic vision, in which engineering and structural design are the main topics, it becomes therefore possible to deal with various research topics, such as the history of civil and construction engineering, the history of transport engineering and viability, economic history, entrepreneurial history, social history, the history of work and business organization, the development of new materials or technological solutions in engineering applications, punctual investigations on particular engineering works, history of infrastructural, territorial and urban development, historical studies on the environmental and landscape context, the development of information technology applied to design, etc. A particular appreciation will receive those works of an interdisciplinary nature, capable of investigating the objects of study from different perspectives and in a humanistic framework, with adequate awareness for the historical, economic, social and cultural context.

In the previous edition (2021), addressed only towards Italian universities, a total of 31 works were presented (22 for master’s degree theses and 9 for doctoral theses).

The prize for the Best Master’s Degree thesis was given to Raffaele Merone, for his work entitled “Material relief and modeling for use and immaterial knowledge. The case of the Piscina Mirabilis” (“Survey and material modeling for immaterial fruition and knowledge. The case of Piscina Mirabilis”, University of Naples Federico II, July 2020). Merone presented a suggestive research in the field of technological applications, that allow the survey and virtual representation of an archaeological heritage, that of the Mirabilis Pool, a Roman tank for military use in the area of the Phlegraean fields (Campi Flegrei). Through a careful multidisciplinary investigation, that contemplates the use of hydraulic tools, spatial analysis and three-dimensional modeling as well as a careful historical topographical framework of the context in which the Roman infrastructure was built, the thesis offers an important contribution to the diffusion of knowledge regarding the engineering of Roman aqueduct systems.

The prize for the Best Research Thesis (doctorate) was instead assigned ex aequo to Eliana Alessandrelli and Vito Quadrato. Alessandrelli presented the thesis entitled “Three stories of arch bridges in the Engineering Italian School of the Twentieth century”, University of Rome Tor Vergata, May 2019). It is an extremely original and innovative work, based on careful archival research and on an accurate verification of the scientific literature, adequately developed from the point of view of the history of structural engineering and of the socio-economic context, in particular by addressing new issues and providing a significant contribution in research relating to significant interpreters of the Italian engineering school of the twentieth century. The investigation deals with three cases: that of the bridges defined as “rigged” by Eugenio Miozzi; the type of the thin arch bridges and stiffening deck and finally that of the Mélan type bridges perfected by Giulio Krall. The study is accompanied by a rich iconographic, bibliographic and archival apparatus.

Vito Quadrato obtained recognition with the thesis entitled “The construction of the span between design culture and industrial culture (1950-75). The tectonics of reinforced concrete in Aldo Favini and Marco Zanuso” (“Constructing the bay between the cultures of design and industry (1950-75). The reinforced concrete Tectonics by Aldo Favini and Marco Zanuso”, Polytechnic of Bari – University of Rome Tre, January 2020), developing a particularly suggestive theme, that of the span as an architectural and engineering element and its application in the industrial construction culture of the second post-war period. The study of some industrial establishments built in Italy in that period highlighted a series of new experiments on the use of reinforced concrete. The philosophical and technical approach at the same time, which starts from a consistent reflection of a historical, original and richly documented nature, has allowed the author an extended and articulated vision, which constitutes an important piece in the history of the applications of reinforced concrete and, more generally, of the technology of contemporary architecture.

The application form for this second edition of the Award must be submitted through a specific online procedure by the deadline of April 19, 2022 at the address of the University of Trento.

For more information, the link to the call is provided:

Award Flyer (PDF Download)