Spotlight: Félix Candela

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Los Manantiales. Image via rkett.com Los Manantiales. Image via rkett.com
Every work of art is an interpretation of the world, of what you are thinking; a realization of your perception which creates and attempts a different world. In the end, a work of art is merely an offering to art.

Mexican-Spanish architect Félix Candela (Jan 27, 1910 – Dec 7, 1997) was known for redefining the role of the architect in relation to structural problems, and played a crucial role in the development of new structural forms of concrete. His famous experimentation with concrete gave rise to projects like the Los Manantiales restaurant in the Xochimilco area of Mexico City and the Cosmic Rays Pavilion for the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Image via <a href='http://candelastructures.org/about.html'>candelastructures.org</a> Image via <a href='http://candelastructures.org/about.html'>candelastructures.org</a>

Candela graduated from the Madrid Superior Technical School of Architecture in 1935 before receiving a scholarship to study in Germany. However, his studies were short-lived as the Civil

Cosmic Rays Pavilion. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/recluse26/892664658/'>Flickr user recluse26</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
in Spain broke out and Candela returned to join the forces fighting against Francisco Franco. Following the war, however, Candela was exiled to Mexico in 1939. Ten years after arriving in Mexico, Candela founded the firm Cubiertas Ala, through which he constructed thin, reinforced-concrete shell structures that brought him international fame in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1961 Candela received the Auguste Perret prize.

Cosmic Rays Pavilion. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/recluse26/892664658/'>Flickr user recluse26</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a> Cosmic Rays Pavilion. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/recluse26/892664658/'>Flickr user recluse26</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
After completing the Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico for the 1968 Summer Olympic Games, Candela decided to move to the United States where he underwent a profound professional and creative transformation, putting aside his engineering work and focusing increasingly on architecture, while also working full-time as a professor at the University of Illinois until 1978. Candela carried out a vast number of projects, but perhaps the standout feature of many of his projects is the use of the hyperbolic paraboloid, a geometric shape that became a staple of Candela’s projects. Check out some of Candela's completed projects via the thumbnails below.
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