Pepa Cassinello


Introduction: Studying the historical design system of the pioneer concrete shells helps to reveal a relevant part of the History of Construction, which is also fundamental in acquiring the knowledge necessary to conserve and restore this iconic heritage. Cantilevered shells, like large domes, have been the most difficult to design and dimension when computers did not yet exist. Methods: The research included two phases: firstly, the selection and analysis of some of the most relevant pioneer cantilevered shells, and secondly, the comparative analysis of their design systems. Result and discussion: The analysis pointed out that the pioneer master engineers used different design systems. Pier Luigi Nervi and Eduardo Torroja mainly used scale model tests to check the structural behavior of their new continuous structural forms, Ildefonso Sánchez del Río always used ribbed shells and chose geometric forms that were easy to calculate manually, and Félix Candela used real size models for the tests. The result reveals the different paths that they used to design and build their relevant legacies, which nowadays belong to the international heritage of Modernist Architecture.


Concrete shells, design system, cantilevered structures, Modernist Architecture.

Full Text:



Image archives: Eduardo Torroja, Fundación Juanelo Turriano, Fernando Cassinello, Pepa Cassinello.

Billington, D. P. (1983). The tower and the bridge: the new art of structural engineering. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 306 p.

Blanco García, F. L. and García Ríos, I. (2018). Fernando Higueras y Félix Candela en un retorno a la geometría de paraguas invertidos: análisis y reconstitución gráfica del aeropuerto de Murcia, 1983. EGA Expresión Gráfica Arquitectónica, 23 (32), pp. 232–243. DOI: 10.4995/ega.2018.9813.

Candela, F. (1962). Hacia una nueva filosofía de las estructuras. Buenos Aires: Ediciones 3, 43 p.

Candela, F. (1985). En defensa del formalismo y otros escritos. Bilbao: Xarait, 172 p.

Cassinello, P. (2010). Félix Candela: Centenary 2010. Madrid: Fundación Juanelo Turriano, 372 p.

Cassinello, P. (2011). Las cubiertas de Sánchez del Río en el contexto internacional de la arquitectura Moderna. In: Casinello, P. and Revuelta Pol, B. (eds). Ildefonso Sánchez del Río Pisón. El Ingenio de un legado. Madrid: Fundación Juanelo Turriano, pp. 93–149.

Cassinello, P. (2016). Eduardo Torroja Museo. Madrid: Fundación Eduardo Torroja, 96 p.

Cassinello, P. (2019). Pioneers cantilever concrete shell / Del Río, Gollo, Nervi, Torroja, Zulueta. Proceedings of the IASS Annual Symposia, IASS 2019 Barcelona Symposium: Historical Structures, pp. 1–8.

Christophe, P. (1899). Le béton armé et ses applications. Annales des Travaux Publics de Belgique.

Dischinger, F. (1928). Schalen und Rippenkuppein. Handbuch für Eisenbetonbau. F. Emperger, vol 12, 3rd ed, Berlin: Ernst und Sohn.

Faber, C. (1963). Candela: the shell builder. New York: Reinhold Publishing Corp, 240 p.

Iori, T (2009). Pier Luigi Nervi. Milan: Motta, 119 p.

Lafuente, J. (1960). Hipodromo Tor di Valle. Journal Arquitectura, 22, pp. 18–22.

Nervi, P. L. (1956). Structures. New York: F. W. Dodge Corporation, 118 p.

Torroja, E. (1956). Notes on structural expression. In: Art and Artist. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 219–228.

Torroja, E. (1958). The structures of Eduardo Torroja: an autobiography of engineering accomplishment. New York: F. W. Dodge Corporation, 198 p.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.23968/2500-0055-2020-5-3-03-13


  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN: 2500-0055