Tom Moore and structural engineer Hugh Hyder established Shell Structures, Inc., in June 1955 to develop and produce thin-shell concrete roofs for industrial and commercial new construction.  Moore traveled to Mexico City to consult with Spanish architect Felix Candela, where Candela was devising reinforced concrete spans for large interior spaces, and Shell Structures began to design and build roofs with curved shells and folded plates (a series of Z-shaped panels), which could be precast and delivered to site.  Moore had experimented with thin-shell folded plates in a 1952 design for the State Home in Grand Junction, and had used them in the construction of the H W Moore Equipment Company in 1954.  The new thin-shell concrete roofs could span 700 feet without pillar support.

Shell Structures was involved in the construction of at least thirty projects from 1956 through 1959, often providing only the roof, although some projects included the entire job, from footings to finished structure. The photographic collections have not yet been located, and only a few images are displayed here.  Some of the projects in Tom’s files, with drawings, are:

  • Sacred Heart of Jesus School, Boulder – roof
  • First Methodist Church, Boulder – roof
  • Ideal Cement plant, Tijeras, New Mexico 
  • Aztec Jr. High School, Aztec New Mexico – roof
  • Commercial sheep barns, Fort Collins
  • Shopping Center and Industrial Building, Colorado Springs – roofs 
  • Mountain States Aviation hangar, Stapleton Airfield – roof
  • Fairmount Cemetery warehouse, Denver
  • Pinehurst Country Club, Denver – roof
  • Public Service Co. truck garage, Denver
  • Commercial cow barns, Denver Stockyards – roof
  • Diverse warehouses, service stations, and churches, Denver area

Garage for Denver Chicago Trucking, 1956

Covered water canal west of Denver. Photo courtesy Denver Water Board.

Water Canal Covers, Denver Water Board – 1956

Part of Denver Water Board’s diversion system, the exposed portion of the canal was covered for protection, designed for strength and durability.