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Thin shell

Thin-shell structures are light weight constructions using shell elements. These elements are typically curved and are assembled to large structures.

Kresge Auditorium, MIT

Eero Saarinen

Montreal Biosphere, Canada

Richard Buckminster Fuller

Nagoya Dome, Japan

Brasilia Cathedral
Oscar Niemeyer

Thin shell concrete

is a structure composed of a relatively thin shell of concrete the shells are most commonly flat plates and domes, but may also take the form of ellipsoids or cylindrical sections, or some combination thereof.

Thin shell concrete

Storage, commercial, stadiums, residentialmonolithic domes Suited for complex curves Also used to build boat hulls Historically, it was used by the British to create the Mulberry Harbours for the 1944 DDay invasion of Normandy.

Advantages vs:
Other methods of construction Other materials

Concrete as material humidity


US Anton Tedesko (1903-1994) ITALY Pier Luigi Nervi (1891-1979)

SPAIN Eduardo Torroja (1891-1961) and his pupil Felix Candela (1910-1997)
David, Barry, and Randy South- Monolithic Dome Institute

Structural Engineer
Planetarium Sky shows

The Carl Zeiss Company leading manufacturers of equipment that produces sky shows
Dyckerhoff and Widmann, created the solution known as the Zeiss Dywidag System. Roberts & Schaefer Company in Chicago

Anton Tedesko (1903-1994) US

Hayden Planetarium
- first full-scale American thin concrete shell

Hershey Sports Arena,

when it opened on December 19, 1936, the Hershey Arena was the first large scale barrel shell roof structure in the U.S.

Pier Luigi Nervi

(1891 1979)

The Society for Concrete Construction AIA Gold Medalist Nervi dedicated himself to studies of the covering construction of very big dimensions Invented the Ferro Cemento

Breakthrough in the field of concrete

used steel mesh as a core and layers of cement were brushed on top The mesh was thin, flexible, and elastic

could easily be prefabricated in plaster molds

one of the most impressive interior spaces of the century.

Turin Exhibition Hall

Cathedral of San Francisco

Eduardo Torroja
(1891 1961)

pioneer in the design of concrete-shell structures Torroja graduated as an engineer a Professor at the Escuela de Caminos in Madrid as well as Director of the Instituto Tecnico de la Construccion y del Cemento

Algeciras market in Spain built in 1933

48 m. diameter shell placed over eight pillars joined by a prestressed tie beam

Felix Candela
(1910 1997)
did not invent the concrete shell nor was he the first to use hyperbolic parabaloids (hypar) Huddersfield Gem website asserts he was the all time greatest practitioner of shell design Nicknamed the Shell Builder


Market, Huddersfield

The encyclopedia Brittanica calls Felix Candela a designer of reinforced-concrete (ferroconcrete) structures distinguished by thin, curved shells that are extremely strong and unusually economical.

Cosmic Ray Pavilion (195051)

Church of La Virgen Milagrosa (1953)

Los Manantiales Restaurant (1958)

David, Barry, and Randy South- Monolithic Dome Institute

Monolithic Domes

The Monolithic Dome, is a safe, energy efficient, beautiful structure with many advantages over standard construction A Monolithic Dome is the ideal structure for any sport facility: school gymnasium, indoor football or hockey stadium, mega-arena, rodeo arena, skating rink, etc