Naoum Shebib
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The Ali Baba Movie Theater, 1946 diapo-ali baba

In 1946, Naoum Shebib built the Ali Baba movie theater in Cairo's district of Boulak. In this work, he designed a huge interior space that he sheltered with a thin reinforced concrete shell roof.

Ali-BabaThis vaulted dome was a great innovation in Egypt due to the roof's size and its construction technique. Naoum Shebib subsequently patented his invention under the name "Voûte Chebib" (Chebib Vault).

The technology used in constructing this vaulted roof, then quite daring and ahead of its time, extended Naoum Shebib's reputation beyond Egypt.


This reinforced concrete thin shell covers an area of 800 square meters (8600 square feet). The vault being supported only by columns at its periphery, there is ample column-free space to house a movie theater.


The "Voûte Chebib" was a unique method that consisted in the following steps: 1) an earth mould was fashioned in the shape of the desired thin shell, 2) steel rods were positioned within the mould, 3) a thin layer of concrete was poured over the entire structure, embodying the steel rods while taking the shape of the mould and 4) the hardened concrete vault was slowly raised to its final position by using an ingenious system of jacks. In this case, the vault was raised to a height of 12 meters (40 feet).