Hyperbolic paraboloid shells derive their strength from their unique shape rather than their mass, enabling remarkably frugal use of materials. Braced in two directions they achieve exceptional stiffness and withstand both dead and dynamic loads. The same shell serves both as roof and load bearing wall.
A hyperbolic paraboloid shell can be constructed in many materials including wood and steel, but in the mid-20th century it was concrete which generated much interest. The ability to use innovative design to economise on scarce materials following World War II was a particular driver.
There are many examples of the technique being used in architecture though the added complexity of integrating non-linear shapes with other architectural elements mean they are, today, more likely to be used for design aesthetics rather than economy.