The Cristóbal Colón cemetery is one of the world’s greatest historic cemeteries. It is the largest cemetery in the Americas and is the burial place for many of Cuba’s influential families. The Nuñez Galvez tomb, unlike many of the classically inspired mausoleums, is built in the modernist style and is meant to highlight the wealth and status of the Nuñez Galvez family.

  • Location: 10 (at the corner of D), Havana, Cuba
  • Design engineer: Felix Candela
  • Architect: Max Borges, Jr., and Enrique Borges
  • Built: 1957
  • Height at tallest point: 6.68 m (21 ft 11 in)
  • Length: 6.53 m (21 ft 5 in)
  • Width: 5.94 m (19 ft 6 in)
  • Structural system: Hyperbolic paraboloid
  • Construction material: Reinforced concrete

The tomb is made up of two symmetric hyperbolic paraboloid (hypar) reinforced concrete thin shells connected at the crest. The shells are supported by a horizontal beam in the back, and two foundations at the front. To alleviate stresses at the free edges of the shell, the thickness is increased. Hypars, though doubly curved, can be generated with straight lines. Scaffolding requires the use of formwork, often wood and the presence of straight line generators makes construction of formwork simpler and cost-effective.

Given the coordinates for points B, C, E, and F, the hypar is defined with global axes (x, y, z) by the equation:

The local axes (u, v, w) are defined by translating (x, y, z) to a new origin, point O, and rotating the axes 45 degrees. Point O is seen from the front view as the location of the y-coordinate where all the z-values are equal given any x-value. From this point O, the equation for the hyperbolic paraboloid is derived:

Student authors of project:
Ojima Agada
Kimberly Perez
Michael Cox