Naoum Shebib - The Innovator
It was a challenge to construct large reinforced concrete thin shells, some of which measured up to 800 square meters, or 8600 square feet. To this end, Naoum Shebib invented a unique method, patented under the name "Voûte Chebib" (Chebib Vault), summarized as follows. A vault-shaped earth mould was built on the floor. Steel rods were positioned on the moulds and a thin layer of concrete poured over them. The concrete then took the shape of the mould and coated the steel rods. Once the concrete had hardened, the vault was slowly raised to its final position that could reach up to 12 meters (40 feet) tall.
For soils that could not withstand concentrated loads, Naoum Shebib designed a special and innovative type of raft foundation that distributed the load over a large area through a set of reinforced concrete thin shells in the shape of a hyperbolic paraboloid standing two meters (six feet) tall. As in the case of the "Voûte Chebib", earth moulds were made in the desired shape, steel rods were added and concrete poured over them. This raft foundation provided a large contact area and got its strength through the hyperbolic paraboloid form of the reinforced concrete thin shells.
The architect-engineer also developed a type of high resistant and low subsidence pile that could be hand driven into the soil. Solid foundations could thus be constructed with simple means.