The competition for the Florence stadium (1930), a work that placed him at the centre of attention in Italy and abroad, beyond the intrinsic beauty of the project, was won precisely because of the low cost of construction. This was followed between 1935 and 1940 by the large hangars for the Italian Air Force in Orvieto and Orbetello, which again were awarded for the validity of the technical-economic proposal. Here, he experimented with the use of prefabricated components, which would later become a constant in his works.
The hangars are also the first structure for which Nervi, in order to verify in the final stages of the project the validity of his original structural conception, resorted not only to static calculations but also to tests on a scaled-down model, carried out at the Milan Polytechnic by Guido Oberti (1907-2004).
This procedure was to be maintained for the majority of subsequent works, and the scientific collaboration with Oberti within the new research laboratory of ISMES/Istituto Sperimentale Modelli e Strutture, founded in Bergamo after the war and of which Nervi himself would assume the presidency from 1969, would extend over more than thirty years, representing a page of excellence in Italian experimentalism.
Nervi's production of writings is also wide-ranging and of great interest, focusing above all on the themes of architectural language and the relationship between structure and form, science and art of building, and more generally between engineering and architecture, and on the ethical value of building correctly. These are themes that also characterised his university teaching, carried out with continuity at the Faculty of Architecture in Rome, and some of his high-profile speeches at prestigious universities, from Harvard to Buenos Aires, as well as his dialogue and professional collaboration with people similar to him in culture and mentality, such as Mario Salvadori, structural designer and lecturer at Columbia University.