Norfolk scope arena: A us dome with a unique configuration of interior ribs and buttresses

Edward M. Segal, Sigrid Adriaenssens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper compares Pier Luigi Nervi's Norfolk Scope Arena (Norfolk, VA, US, 1970) to his earlier domes and to other long span concrete domes built in the United States of America (US) in the 1960s and 1970s. The first objective is to show the progression in Nervi's dome designs. This paper identifies chronologically when interior ribs and buttresses (inclined columns), prominent elements at Scope Arena, initially appear in Nervi's domes. The second objective is to demonstrate the various ways Nervi details these elements in his domes. After showing this diversity broadly across eight of his works, the paper describes specifically how the interior ribs and buttresses are configured at Scope Arena and then compares this arrangement to those of the visually different Little and Large Sports Palaces (Rome, Italy 1957 and 1960, respectively). The third objective is to show that Scope Arena's ribs and buttresses give the shell a unique form among other US domes from the same era. Comparisons in this paper seek to place Scope Arena in the context of its contemporaries so that its contributions to the field of thin concrete shell roofs can be better understood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures
Issue number176-177
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Buttress
  • Nervi
  • Precast
  • Reinforced concrete dome
  • Rib
  • Tension ring
  • Thin concrete shell


Dive into the research topics of 'Norfolk scope arena: A us dome with a unique configuration of interior ribs and buttresses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this