When the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) was building University City, the university’s science faculty had a special request. They wanted a building that would allow them to measure high-energy radiation from space and also protect its instruments so they weren’t exposed to the open air. The solution was the Cosmic Rays Pavilion, which revolutionized architecture.
Originally, the design for the laboratory featured a domed building. The project’s lead architect, Jorge Gonzáles Reyna, asked the architect Félix Candela for help, and Candela was not convinced that they could achieve the necessary roof thickness with a dome shape. Instead, Candela designed a building in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid. The double curves of the design allowed the roof to be extremely thin but maintain stability.
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