History of Innovation

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1951: Cosmic Rays Pavilion – Mexico City, Mexico

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Innovation: thin-shell concrete used for complex designs
Location: Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, Mexico
Year: 1951
By: Felix Candela

Felix Candela was instrumental in the development of reinforced concrete thin-shell structures. He explored the potential of reinforced concrete, which works extremely well in dome or shell shapes due to the elimination of tensile forces. Furthermore, Candela worked as not only an architect but also engineer and builder, and helped to define Mexican architecture [1].

The Cosmic Rays Pavilion was a project given by the Mexican government and has become a prestigious icon in the city. Its concept is based on the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid. To achieve stiffness, strength, and stability, Candela employed a double-curved roof rather than a cylindrical one, working with Jorge Conzález Reyna. In addition, the Pavilion is extremely thin, with the thickest part of the cast at 5/8 in. The outside vertical walls are in a corrugated configuration and supported by three arches into the foundation. It is not only a highly technical structure, but also aesthetically simplistic [2].

Web links: 1, 2, 3

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Written by Marilyn Newberry

October 4, 1951 at 9:45 pm

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