Column-supported hyperboloid cooling towers are analysed with a finite element formulation including the effects of thickness shear deformations and the term z/R. Both shell and columns are modelled by using the same curved trapezoidal finite element with 40 degress of freedom. The stress concentration at the shell-column junctions is studied by taking into account the effect of the column-support width. The accuracy of the finite element is demonstrated with numerical examples and the results obtained in this investigation are compared with those obtained earlier. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.