The Cosmic Rays Pavilion represents one of the first experiments with parabolic structures. The double curved structure is made of a very thin layer of concrete, exemplifying its structural and design capabilities. These mathematically complex structures define the popular architecture of the pavilion’s designer Felix Candela.
Measuring 40 feet by 35 feet the pavilion, the structure contains two laboratory spaces specializing in the measurement of cosmic rays and nuclear disintegration for the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Ciudad Universitaria. It’s remarkably thin shell is quite appropriate
At its thickest point the covering reaches only 5/8 inch, one of the thinnest casts ever created. Its construction in 1951 marked one of the major advancements in concrete shell architecture. The exterior vertical walls are made from reinforced concrete formed in a corrugated configuration. The foundation of the shell rests upon three main arching supports which are carried down into concrete footings.
The entrance into the building comes from the undercarriage up into the first bay of the interior. Two bays are created by three main “arches”, one main parabola with two hyperbolic paraboloids, with concrete draping between.