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Fausto Giovannardi
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

At the beginning of modern, steel Life
manufacturers said the impulse to create Outeriño Félix Candela, was one of the
new models. The next innovation to wrap most important architects of the twentieth
the concrete has led to materialize the century. His adventurous life can be
most extreme forms: the boldness was divided into three periods, matching his
accompanied to the imagination and the stay in Spain, Mexico and the United
forms and materials have been adapted States.
at all efforts. One of the main protagonists The first period runs from birth, in Madrid
of this development was around the on January 27, 1910, until the end of the
middle of last century Félix Candela
(hereafter FC), who is remembered for
his extraordinary roof of reinforced
concrete shell, the shape of hyperbolic
paraboloids.

Spanish Civil War in March 1939.
La obras mejor es la que sostiene por
Son of traders from Crevillente
su forma.1
(Valencia), which tells you not heard the
Eduardo Torroja
call, which seems to have had other
famous architects or engineers, but that
had little since the desire to build.
Completed higher studies, is enrolled in
the School of Architecture in Madrid for
the event or the advice of a friend. Now
you wilt in the study of descriptive
geometry, and the third year in the
Resistencia de Materiales, who studied
with Professor Luis Vegas, where he
became a student assistant. His interest
in the artistic aspects was very low, and
also in the field of design is declared
incapable. Its focus was entirely on the
technical side of architecture and usually
for exact sciences.
1
The best work is that it maintains for its shape. In Youth FC was a good athlete and won

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

the Architectural Form". Decided to use
the prize for an internship in Germany
and Finsterwalder Dischinger, had
already purchased the train ticket to leave
on July 18 1936, when the news came
the attempted military coup by the troops
of Francisco Franco, and Félix Candela

several national competitions in alpine not departed. Shortly after it enlisted, the

skiing and rugby team. army as a volunteer Republican to defend

The years of its formation were years of the legality of golpisti against Franco.

great political and cultural effervescence, Years later, thinking back to this choice,

culminating in 1931 with the proclamation FC showed no regrets, and indeed said:

of the Second Spanish Republic, which "I could not even benefit from the

put an end to the monarchy of Alfonso knowledge of German professors,

XIII. The cultural openness of the new learned some lessons from the revolution

government allowed the proliferation of and civil war, I was very useful."

new and different philosophical and FC was assigned to Comandancia de

artistic trends. Obras to Albacete and shortly after was

He graduated in 1935, immediately promoted to Capitán de Ingenieros. The

opened a small studio with Eduardo civil war 2was long and ended with the

Robles and Ramirez Dampierre. While victory of the nationalists of Francisco

arrangement giving repetitions and doing Franco. After a long retreat through the

small jobs, Candela deepened the study 2
The Spanish Civil War breaks out in 1936. The
general elections of February 16 left-wing forces are
of structure design of steel and reinforced returning to the government, through the first
experiment of Popular Front. On July 18, however, the
concrete. The shell structures that are situation falls: some military garrisons arise against the
Republican government ( "alzamiento") and General
built in Europe in the twenties (Dischinger Franco arrived on the national soil with the colonial
troops from Morocco. It is the beginning of the civil war,
in Germany, Freyssinet in France, Nervi with serious repercussions on the international level.
Spain is the scene of the first armed clash between
in Italy and Eduardo Torroja in Spain, fascism and antifascism, with the participation of many
intellectuals from all over the world, from the U.S. (from
etc.) Drew the attention of very young Dos Passos to Hemingway), and with the Italians - the
Mussolini black shirts from a hand, and the anti-fascists
Candela, so much so that in 1936 won a and anarchists on the other - committed on both sides.
The war will end at the end of March 1939 with nearly
scholarship Study of the Academy of Fine one million dead and the victory of the nationalists of
Francisco Franco and the establishment of a
Arts of San Fernando, with the argument: dictatorship based on the legislative power of the
"Caudillo" and the repression of opponents (the "Feroz
"The influence of new trends in the Matanza "), Which will last until 1975 and cause the
deaths of 200,000 anti-fascists, hundreds of thousands
technique of reinforced concrete above of people sentenced to various penalties, 300,000
exiles.

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Pyrenees, the group Candela found moved to Mexico City to work with Jesús
refuge in the concentration camp at Martí, a refugee himself Spanish, who
Perpignan, France, where he remained directed a study of architecture. There it
for four months as an exile3, the fate remained for four years, probably the
wished that her name was among those most peaceful of his life, working on the
that Mexico was willing to accept . construction of many residential buildings,
Candela landed at Veracruz (Mexico) on and the reconstruction of the Casino de la
June 13 1939. Among the more than a Selva in Cuernavaca, recently returned to
thousand exiled Spaniards, who were the fore because nearly destroyed to
welcomed in Mexico, 25 were architects, make way for a supermarket4. In just
and Felix Candela one of the youngest. In created a hotel and a cinema in
addition to Spanish, other architects also Guamúchil and built its first line of section
arrived foreigners fleeing from totalitarian (at trial) and then apply it in the draft of a
regimes in Europe, as Cetto and Hannes ural school in Tamaulipas.
Max Meier. The gain realized that he was sufficient to
The arrival of this flower technicians come to Mexico, Spain, his mother and
coincided with a period of great his sister Julia and also shortly after his
development for the Central American brother Antonio5.
country, where government incentives Confident and optimistic for the prospects
construction, to meet the popular demand of his work, decided to found a building
of residences. contractor specializing in roofing. Thus
Thus beginning the second period of his cubiertas Ala, a company with the
life. Initially settled in a Spanish colony of 4
A serious attack on the World Cultural Heritage has been
exiles, 100 km north of Chihuahua, where made in Cuernavaca in Mexico: the destruction of the Casino
de la Selva, the Mexican Sistine Chapel. " The Mexican weekly
shortly after she married Eladio Martin, 'La Jornada' reported the protest of Colombian writer Gabriel
Garcia Marquez who, along with a group of intellectuals, will
submit to UNESCO a project to transform the Casino de la
who knew from Madrid. In 1941 both took Selva in an International Institute of the Arts. The building was
a 'work of famous Spanish architect Felix Candela that ahead
the Mexican nationality. Since their of the curve, the known hazards hyperbolic parabolic dome.
The demolition, authorized by the Municipal Presidency,
marriage were born four children: started by the U.S. supermarket chain Price costs, continuing
with considerable environmental damage by the Wall-Mart,
Antonia, Teresa, and sister Pilar and even without the permission of Environmental Management. A
massacre aggravated by the destruction of works of art of
painting murals that were inside the complex, signed works by
Manola. Siqueiros, Orozco, Rivera, Silvio Benedetto, Atl, messenger,
Camarena, Renau, Meza, Flores, Ballester, Gonzales, Cueva
During the years 1941 and 1942 Felix Del Rio, Pena, Icaza. An even ecological disaster, one that
involved the "Jardin de l'Art" (another name of the Casino de la
Candela worked in Acapulco, in Selva). The weekly Valencia 'El temps' in an article entitled
"Vandalism in Mexico'" the complaint also killing lots of trees.
partnership with a manufacturer. It then 5
The Rangel brothers were members for only 3 years. Felix
assumed the presidency, while Antonio who was master
3 builder, took care of yards and Julia administration. The
France recognized the Franco government, and then company will operate until 1976, but will leave the Félix
exiles became a problem. Candela in 1969.

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

architects brother Raul and Fernando fortuitous double curvature surface.
Fernandez Rangel, who was also In 1951 Candela achieves coverage that
participate Antonio and Julia. will give him international fame: the
In this endeavor Felix Candela was Pabellón de rayos Cósmicos. A small
architect, engineer, consultant, computer, pavilion 12 x 10.75 meters, designed by
contractor and manufacturer. His first Jorge González Reyna and build within
contract was a block of apartments with the university campus, to host a
shops on the ground floor. The structural workshop.
calculations and drawings executives Specialist for measuring neutrons. The
were treated to the smallest details. The request was that of the coverage had a
same client then entrusted the thickness not exceeding 1.5 cm. Candela
construction of Hotel Catedral in calle de propose to use a double curvature
Donceles (DF) on draft Nabor Carrillo, instead of the cylindrical coverage
who later become rector of UNAM6.
While working hard, Candela continued to
study and to upgrade. Reading an article
about Winter Grorge Journal of the
American Concrete Institute, which
discussed the construction of times a
double curvature, rekindled his interest
for the young thin shell structures. He
began to search for articles and, after
having translated with the help of the
dictionary from English, French and
German, began to study them in depth,
seeking the ability to calculate these
provided in the draft Gonzàlez Reyna,
structures using the simplest of those
arguing that this gave the geometric
classics. A second trial, he was standing
stiffness needed to allow the execution of
in the soil of the Fabric Fernàndez. Issue
a cover thickness. This was the first
once conoidale 15 x 6 meters, with a
example in which Candela used a
thickness of 3 cm, supported on the
solution of parabolide hyperbolic (or
sides, two strings of different bolt, one of
Hypar7), a geometric shape that had
them very low, much to generate a
7
The structures in the shape of hyperbolic paraboloids (Hypar
6
with the abbreviation USA) in architecture have been realized
National Autonomous University of Mexico. for the first time dall'ingegnere Russian Vladimir Shuklov

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

studied in an article published in 19368, company cubiertas Ala, as a collaborator
and that will come to know and dominate, of the main architects Mexicans10, who
used with great virtuosity, to generate had their increasingly capricious projects,
those Manti soft and sinuous that he was almost a magician. Candela
constitute its most emblematic creations. defined geometrically, regularized,
The success that got him exclaim9: "que rejected what seemed illogical and
es fácil hacerse famous", and such a transformed ideas into a project, which
strong stimulus for creative and instructed the calculation of the building
confidence in their skills. He began to and then convert the idea into reality. In
write articles about his work and sent one regards wrote in 1959: "My main job is to
of the first, entitled "Consideraciones al simplify and regularize the rough and I
Diseño de Estructuras de Reforzado have to convince that the outcome is not
Concrete", all 'ACI Journal, who refused in constructing forms extravagant, but get
because little technical. (The newspaper, things simple, carefully studying the
two years later, he accepted his job details." 11
"Estructuras de Simples Concrete"). In Between 1951 and 1953 created 5
1951 presented an essay, "Hacia una residential buildings for the periodic
nueva de las Estructuras Philosophy," the Novedades, who drawn between its
Mexican Scientific Congress II. subscribers, in the Jardin del Pedregal,
Meanwhile (1953) became a professor within the revolutionary project of urban
and then head of the department of Luis Barragàn. Candela used shells, as
architecture at the University of Mexico interp, but the experience is not found
City.
10
The key collaborations:
From the construction of Pabellón de Los Almacenes de Las Aduanas (customs warehouses)
Vallejo, 1953 with Carlos Recamier.
rayos Cósmicos, Candela began to The markets, built between 1955 and 1956 in Coyoacan,
Azcapotzalco and Anahuac, with Pedro Ramirez Vàzquez and
receive assignments of greater Rafael Mijares.
The Restaurant at Los Manantiales Xochimilco, in 1958, with
Joaquin A'lvarez Ordoñez
importance. Mostly worked with his The Capilla de abierta Palmira in Cuernavaca in 1959 with
Rosell and Manuel Guillermo Larrosa.
Then there is a long and fruitful relationship with Enrique de La
(1853-1939), which rifece to areas with double curvature, Mora Lopez and Fernando Carmona, which began in 1955
defined by analytically Russian mathematician Nikolai with coverage of the stock market (Bolsa de valores) of
Lobachevsky. The first structure was the coverage of the Mexico, the various churches: el Altillo (Coyoacan, 1955), San
Russian pavilion of 1896 to Nizhny Novgorod. Antonio de las Huertas (DF, 1955), San Jose obrero
8
F. Amond “ Etude statique des voiles minces en (monterrey, 1959), San Vicente de Paul (DF, 1959), which
paraboloidee hyperbolique travaillant sans flexion” continued even when the two architects are separated in 1960
Zurich,1936 with the church of Santa Monica Lopez of Carmona and in
9 1963 with the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Madrid,
“por fin, al cumplir los quaranta anos, descubrì which was the first by a Mexican architect in Spain and which
asombrado que mi desordenata y casual formaciòn marked the return of professional Candela in his native
parecìa haber sido misteriosamente dirigida en un homeland.
determinado sentito que me permitia encontrarme In last collaboration with Santiago Calatrava for the project of
preparado para la labor que tenìa que ejecutar” F. 'Oceanographic in Valencia, work completed posthumously.
11
Candela: En defensa del formalismo y otros escrittos , F. Candela, “Carta de Fèlix Candela al director” in
Xairat Ediciones, Bilbao 1985 , p.9 Arquitectura, Madrid Ottobre 1959

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

positive and not the shots anymore. works of the company cubiertas Ala are
A year after he built his own house, a villa worthy of mention, in Mexico: Atzeca
in traditional Mediterranean style, a Stadium, the University Theater Center
Tlacopac, in the south east of Mexico and the Electronic National Autonomous
City. In this regard commented: "I will not University of Mexico, the monumental
chance to show my house a few architect arch of Monterrey, and in the international
,..., all hope that living in a monstrous arena, the Cuban Presidential Palace,
turned with the roof and walls of glass." 12 whose creation was decided before the
In this period Candela built the first fall of Batista, the Auditorium of
prototype paraguas (umbrella). Cartography of Caracas, the Auditorium
Quadrangular coverage consists of four of Maracaibo, the Hemisfair Tower of San
timpani of hypar, supported by a single Antonio, the Crystal Palace in London
central pillar, which found space inside and the sports complex at the University
the pipe rain. Because of its cost- of Rhode Brown Island.
effectiveness and speed of construction They were the years when Félix Candela,
(you could reuse the same housing), this now considered the main designer of
structure had a huge spread and was the times in the world, was a constant
kind of coverage required by most presence in magazines worldwide, and
builders and architects Mexicans, for was invited to give lectures in many
industrial buildings and above all service universities, mainly in the U.S.. His
stations. reports were always an example of
simplicity and they confirmed the
In its 26 years of operation (1950-1976) skepticism of youth compared to the
the company cubiertas Ala performed an complicated calculations of the theory of
impressive number of works: 1439 drew membrane structures. The criticisms
up plans, which were built 896, of which made to the theory that the role of
over 90% were industrial buildings. The practice, created hostilities within the
period of increased activity was between many small circuit of international
1956 and 1960, five of which were built in specialists.
a total of 395 works.13 In July 1961, in London, during the
Among the congress of the
12 International Union
Giral, A. « la arquitectura de Fèlix Candela » in
AA.VV.El desierro espanol en America. Madrid Min. of Architects (UIA)
Cultura.
13
Tabla de obras de Cubiertas Ala, Germenon Salum he was awarded
da Juan Tonda Magallón Ediciones Corunda 2000
Mexico DF

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

the prestigious Auguste Perret Prize for were no more conditions (suitable for
the excellence of his work. A month after manod'opera and low so, flexible rules
he was decorated with a gold medal that and creativity) of the gold. And then
the Institution of Engineers structural starts the third period of his life, in which
engineers assigned to the best structural Candela had a profound transformation
engineers in the world (before him: professional and creative led him to
JFBaker in 1052, Eugene Freyssinet abandon his work as designer
1957, Hardy Cross 1958). /manufacturer. Moved to Chicago where
In 1963 his wife died five years later she he was a full-time professor at the
married Candela, the architect U.S. University of Illinois from 1971 to 1978,
Dorothy Davies. when it adopted U.S. citizenship. Do not
The last important work of Felix Candela let all of his creative work, is associated
was the Palazzo dello Sport for the to the study Idea Center in Toronto and
Olympic Games in Mexico City in 1968, attended to ambitious projects, including
built in collaboration with Enrique the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid
Castañeda and Antonio Peyre, which (that project was not realized), the City of
replaced the use of shells of concrete, not Sport in Kuwait, the Islamic Cultural
suitable for large lights , With an Center Madrid, a tower of offices in
economic and ingenious semi-metal Riyadh, an airport in Murcia, coverage for
structure, divided into panels that are a stadium Islamic University in Riyadh,
inserted elements shaped paraguas, the Feria de Muestras of Marbella, the
covered with plates of copper. The effect Legislature of Veracruz, the Master Plan
is that of the shell of a large turtle, which of Islamic, the Prosecutor of Xalapa hotel
has become a symbol of the Mexican in Cancun, and ultimately the City of Arts
capital. In 1971, after nearly two decades and Science in Valencia, with space built
teaching at the National Autonomous in the park where Oceanographic
University of Mexico, decided to emigrate
to the U.S., to teach at the University of
Illinois. This influenced the decision, the
misunderstandings with the management
of the Faculty of Architecture, the new
American wife and the decline of his
company cubiertas Ala, a consequence of
the fact that times had changed and there

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

coverage of access and the restaurant
are underwater parabolidi hyperbolic
concrete, made in collaboration with
Santiago Calatrava, which has the merit
of making worthy tribute to this great
teacher, for too long forgotten.
Is to Valencia, as
a result of again
of an old heart
disease, Félix
Candela returned to the United States, to
Raleigh in North Carolina, where he lived
from 1990 to be admitted all'Hospital de
Duke, where he died on December 7
1997 .

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

The projects and achievements

Some of the major works and projects by Félix Candela:

1940 Hotel e appartamenti ad Acapulco, in collaborazione con Bringas.
1950-1951 Pabellón de los Rayos Cósmicos, Città del Messico.
1953-1957 Iglesia de la Medalla de la Virgen Milagrosa, Navarte.
1954-1955 Fábrica Celestino Fernández, Colonia Vallejo.
1954-1955 Bolsa de Valores, Città del Messico.
1955 Capilla de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, Coyoacán.
1955-1956 Quiosco de Música, Santa Fe.
1956 Capilla de San Antonio de las Huertas, Tacuba.
1956-1957 Club notturno La Jacaranda, Acapulco.
1956-1957 Restaurante Los Manantiales, Xochimilco.
1957-1958 Capilla abierta en Lomas de Cuernavaca, Palmira.
1958-1959 Basílica de Guadalupe, Città del Messico.
1958-1959 Iglesia de San José Obrero, Monterrey.
1959 Capilla de San Vicente Paul, Coyoacán.
1959-1960 Capilla de Santa Mónica, San Lorenzo di Xochimancas.
1959-1960 Planta embotelladora ditta Bacardí, Cuautitlán.
1962-1963 Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Madrid, Spagna.
1965-1968 Palacio de Deportes per la XIX Olimpiade Città del Messico.
1966 Parroquia del Señor del Campo Florido, Città del Messico.
1994-2002 L'Oceanogràfic, Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia,
Spagna.

to convert the structures
laminaria in a work of art." His
greatest contribution in the field
were the structural laminaria
concrete structures, generated
from hyperbolic paraboloids
(Hypar), a geometric shape of
Roofing read in concrete form of extraordinary effectiveness, which
armed with umbrellas spigolosi in a draft version, has become the
(edges) or sinuous mantle, that hallmark of its architecture.
Felix Candela built in the fifties and
sixties, made it a symbol of The first shell (cascarones14) that
Mexican twentieth century. As Frei has built Candela, was once a
Otto said: "Candela only managed 14
Literally: Shell egg.

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

funicular trial in the summer of which breaks away supported by a
1949. For its construction followed small support to V.
the example of some prototypes The commitment with which
built in England during the Second Candela had studied the Strength
World War. It seems that the of Materials allowed him to
inventor of the time was Kurt understand how illusory are the so-
Billing, and the system used to be called analysis accurate: "When I
called "Ctesiphon", the name of an started to build shells, my mind
old arcade building in Syria. The was making from school. As
success achieved with this students we believe in everything
experiment encourages Candela to that we is taught, for example, that
consider the possibility of devoting there are methods to calculate the
themselves to building shells. exact structures. I started working
Indispensabie was proposing to stop believing in everything that I
something different in order to believed. But this is a necessary, if
survive in the highly competitive one wants to build something
field of construction in Mexico. At original "
about the same Candela, said: The Pabellón de rayos Cósmicos
"despite the Mexican tradition of designed with Jorge Gonzales
building curved shapes and bold, Reyna, for the city university of
concrete vaults were to look with Mexico City, with its undulating
suspicion. We thought they were concrete cover thickness of only 15
unsafe, because of subsoil mm, which allows measurement
conditions and frequent from the neutron, is one of the most
earthquakes" emblematic buildings of his work.
Coverage for a coach was the With its shape, almost a spaceship
second adventure of Candela with about to land, was the first
hypars. The shape is very similar to structure acclaimed by all and that
the time of the Pavilion de rayos brings fame.
Cosmicos But here were omitted From 1951 to 1953, his work was
arcs irrigidenti. One of the edges an impressive variety. These two
supports the rocky soil and the years were essential to understand,
other is supported by a wall of almost intuitively how the shells.
concrete, the sides of the shell Focused on the most simple,

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

guided by two principles that are and to cover the Auditorium of the
essential in these structures: the Faculty of Chemical Sciences of
static and geometry. Built short the University of Mexico City, which
times, prismatic and is
corrugated sheets, formed
cones, fan, domes, by two
almost the entire range
of forms known. In
Residence Romero,
Candela had the
truncated cones, joined a long
opportunity to do a cover sheet to
common border. The light cone
Sinusoidal15. L'inspirazione The
rising from 9 to 18 meters. The
inspiration came from a photograph
media were inclined an added
at Copenhagen, designed by
feature, compared to the original
Vilhelm Lauritzen. The structure
plan to improve its appearance.
was so obvious that Candela was
Candela such comments, "I
"trying to do something similar."
thought to avoid the problems of
Candela built two more of these
calculation on the rods and cones
structures. Methods of
as giving form of line."
prefabricated steel were used for
This is the only building in which
Escuola Montes Alpes and for a
Candela has worked with cones,
seminar. The first is a two-story
and is also one of the few
structure with light of 8 meters and
instances where he worked as a
sudden changes of 2.5 mt from
consultant only and not as
both sides. The second has four
supervisor.
floors, and in the original intentions
In 1953, he built an elliptical dome
were to be six. Probably this was
to cover with a roof of the
the first time that shells were used
residence hall dance Gallego
as interpiani. But there were a good
Center. The dome is relatively low
solution and Candela came to be
and based on existing walls, but
seen as a "search path without
since the plant's dome does not
hope." 1952 is working with
correspond to the walls, his weight
Guillermo Enrique Yanez Rosel
is transferred to them through a
15
The covers that folded prism or the Germans call
"Faltwerke" and the French "toits plissés" follow the complicated system of rays
principle of resistance through the corrugated

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

perimeter. Its strength was put to That this could be a practical
the test when the owners, showing solution for low cost housing was
a confidence that, as Candela demonstrated by several hundred
says, "I do not fully shared," did you units erected on the plains of
hang in the center, an old Monterrey. The umbrella side
chandelier weighing over one ton. produced a more attractive roof of
This concentrated load huge, so the traditional flat plate, usually
cheerfully imposed on the dome, used in Mexico for such work. The
was born until now, without signs of
strain.

The simplest structure created with
hypar was the umbrella upside
down (paraguas invertido) which
combines four rectangular sails,
divided by straight lines and is structure, used in repeated, was
joining the center in a single center because all the economic load of
column where the exhaust pipe the roof were focused on one point,
rain. For all this was a very simple with the savings resulting in the
and economical to cover the space foundations of walls that were not
industry, petrol stations and other solicited. Candela built for a hotel in
places where moving vehicles. Cuernavaca, thirty bungalows with
Umbrellas began to be used for roofs that have a similar plant 14 x
shelters Input attractiveness of 7 mt. Their inhabitants called the
laboratories, warehouses and other "Japanese houses."
buildings.
In Candela there are a series of Soon this solution consists of a
notes that describe the various large number of variants, such as
types and sizes possible. One plant forms with triangular or
show even an umbrella for sample hexagonal. The use of a
plan, designed to resist heavy diagonal rib and curve
loads, dedicated to many car parks allowed to increase the size
plans or wholesale stores. blankets. Advancing in this
kind of evolution dell'hypar,
very soon discovered they

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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

were the main dishes and asymmetric and with different
horizontal cuts that are hyperbole curvature to allow the passage of
from which it takes its name light through this became suitable
pompous this surface almost for building churches and other
magical. Uniting them for their buildings with more aesthetic
curved edges, is formed when two needs. So it came to designing the
similar at the intersection Church of the Virgen de la
cylindrical cruising aisles of the Medalla milagro.
ancient churches, often built with
masonry brick or stone. The This church, built from 1953, is an
difference now is that instead of extraordinary building. The
intersection of cylinders, it has powerful structure is a fearless
un'intersecazione of iperboloidi and combination of deformed surfaces,
instead of masonry, reinforced which create an impressive interior
concrete, two important features of space. As it seems chaotic, there is
modernity. the play of natural forms of Gaudi
and Picasso cubist experiments.
Subsequently, many works were Based on the pattern of a
performed with the base of a traditional plant with three naves, at
paraboloid with only the edges shells coverage of 4 cm in
limited by arches and many other thickness, in this work reaches its
combinations were sought from the highest expression plastic. Candela
edge rectum combined with that achieves a spectacular and
bent. With this last combination innovative structure that recalls the
was very spectacular the Church of gothic cathedrals, expressed
Santa Mónica, designed by through the structure a sense of
Fernando López Carmona and ascension. The main front is a
enforced by cubiertas Ala. In its large triangle, while the front side is
plant with a fan, ten branches of shaped zigzagante generated by
paraboloid with a clearance of 30 m the extremes of the four triangular
that have joined the center in one side chapels. In fact, the structure
sturdy column, which gives the of this church is the result of
impression of being a big palm. successive paraguas, with whom
Then umbrellas became he played Candela, a modified form

15
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

and breaking the symmetry. The domes daring were built without aid
columns take a distorted form, of differential calculus, but instead
designed intuitively as the loads of it, made use of a great sense of '
that must lead, and there are no balance and sensible view of the
capitals and virtually no game of forces, as very necessary
communication between support for a manufacturer, much more
and coverage, which results in a profound knowledge of discoveries
single item. Even the high tower is of mathematics"
made with hypars. Developers of In an interview at a premium,
the church wanted a traditional Candela said that this was the work
design (in the Gothic style) and not that had given more satisfaction,
suspect that they might get and the question of whether the
something more. It is as if Candela public liked, said, "especially for
16
you would see how far you can go women architects like ,..., not. "
with this type of structures. In this Candela in 1955, built by Enrique
respect, the Gothic church is a de la Mora and Fernando Carmona
triangular, with all its vertical López a series of structures. La
emphasis. Given the basic idea of Capilla del Altillo had a
umbrellas and their zigzag edges completely different concept than
through the air, Candela said: that of the church de la Medalla
"Everything in her designs are milagro. Artwork created by this
more or less by himself." The collaboration was the New Stock
preliminary draft was done in an Exchange of Values of Calle de
afternoon, designed in a week and Uruguay in Mexico City, which was
calculated during construction. The built in a coverage of 15 x 26 m
calculations (necessarily extended, and a height of 8.25 m in the
because all surfaces have different center, supported in the four
configuration) revealed an corners which was the first
unexpected push towards the example of an object with the draft.
upper edges of the roof. The This is a particular feature which
comments on this project led to has qualified the work of Candela:
Candela wrote: "Sometimes the the development of the draft.
imposing stone of the Gothic
16
cathedrals and Renaissance Ramirez Dampierre in Arquitectura n.30
giugno 1961 Madrid.

16
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Candela says have come almost by to Xochimilco, built between 1957
intuition: "I knew that the draft was and 1958, the architect for the
a practice, long before we project Joaquín Álvarez Ordóñez,
intellectually understand how it where sometimes polygonal came
worked," and also describes how to at 25 and 30 meters in diameter.
obtain the necessary resistance, "if
we want to keep the edges free, we
must provide some edges or
corners, that reach the ground for
inclined lines ... "17

From such a time of four branches,
it was proven variant three, five six
more branches, to become a plant
polygonal times with the same
solution to iperboloidi cloaks.
With this type were carried out

many jobs, the most extraordinary
of which is the dining room at the
Casino de la Selva in Cuernavaca
(five branches) and the restaurant
Los Manantiales (eight branches)
17
F.Candela in Arquitectura/Mexico anno XXX
tomo XXIII,n.100 aprile/giugno 1968

17
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Another work is characterized in its that allow the passage of light. The
great production, quality and outer perimeter arches are closed
innovative proposal: the building of by large windows which, the
bottling factory Bacardi (1958). For dynamic space, along with ribs and
the building of Bacardi, Candela triangular windows, an amazing
was inspired to form the airport of brightness.
San Luis Minoru Yamasaki of The building of Candela is not far
Missouri. Six large domes of 30 from the project that Mies van der
meters of light and 4 cm thick, Rohe has done in Mexico: the
arranged in pairs to form three place of Bacardy y Cia. Open as
rows, covering an area of more usual Candela, he criticized the
than 5000 square meters. Each large flat recital coverage against
dome is a square and composed nature to the concrete work in that
from two hypar, with the four sides form little logic, and then
by archways delimited parabola estrendere dissent across the
profile inclined to "draft", from rationalist architecture.
which, in parts of fit, vertical In 1961, while he was in London,
triangular sections, sealed glass, the sixth International Congress of

18
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Architects, FC was impressed by One recent work (1967)
the project of the "itinerant theater," which was designed Candela
by a young Spanish student Emilio coverage of the hall of station of
Perez Piñero (1935-1972) and Metro Candelaria, which uses the
won. He began a passionate same kind of umbrella of x14 m 6,
friendship and cooperation that is repeated for 22 times, grouped in
expressed in the draft competition 11 pairs symmetrical leaving an
for the coverage of the Anoeta aisle Central to the central zenithal
Velodrome in San Sebastian (ES). lighting. In these umbrellas formed
For this job FC returned to Spain in a kind of palm leaf with twelve
1972. The project provided a great mantle. The resulting effect is
dome geodetic, obtained the striking, with the columns (4 meters
intersection of three families of high) that seem the trunk of the
arms, forming reticles regular palm species naturally.
hexagons and triangles and a One recent work (1967) which was
mesh is inserted covering elements designed Candela coverage of the
of hypar. Emilio Perez Piñero, a hall of station of Metro Candelaria,
young genius of the structures, which uses the same kind of
ended his earthly extraordinary umbrella of x14 m 6, repeated for
adventure, in an accident with his 22 times, grouped in 11 pairs
Ferrari, a Dali, and visited some symmetrical leaving an aisle
sites. Central to the central zenithal
. lighting. In these umbrellas formed
a kind of palm leaf with twelve
mantle. The resulting effect is
striking, with the columns (4
meters high) that seem the trunk of
the palm species naturally..

Cubiertas Ala

19
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

With his company Cubiertas Ala. the thin strips of concrete that
were made 1439 projects, of which comply with these shells, do not
896 built. A lot of these buildings comply with the regulations for
was an industrial and well known construction in the more developed
forms of umbrellas, which still can countries. In this regard Candela
be seen in many gas stations and writes:
service of the Federal District "The strict regulations of what can
(Mexico City). You must remember be done, it means virtually
that this type of structure, which impossible groped for new roads,
has a single central column houses to evolve and progress.".18
where the pipe and rain with only a The key to the process of
plinth of Trustees, is one of the construction of the shell was in the
most celebrated contributions to complicated development of
Candela for its lightness, simplicity housing (Cimbrian), made with
and economy, which have been planks of wood panconcello, which
performed many works, in which comply with surface turned, that
the use repetitive allowed to cover gave shape to cover. Above the
thousands of square meters and housing is the armature of small
build industrial buildings without the diameter, to form a lattice above
need for a real project, but through which threw the cement, to a
a simple procedure that ended up thickness of 4 cm. As soon as this
being standardized. had taken detach the housing and
Roofing shaped hyperbolic the shell takes its final form. To do
paraboloid, that marked an era this it needed the participation of
dell'architetura Mexican, could be many people, recruited from
built only in that place and at that migration from the countryside who
precise moment, thanks to the came to town, and that contributed
ability and constructive vision of work men good low cost. When in
space Félix Candela and a few 1964 President Gustavo Diaz
other architects who dominated the Ordaz, promulgated a law that
complex system needed to develop increased the minimum wage, los
constructive and availability of high cascarones ceased to be
labor cheap. Works impossible to convenient and enterprise
achieve in other countries, because
18
Look note 17

20
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Cubiertas Ala began its inexorable Architect or engineer
decline. Many architects say that Félix
Candela was a magnificent
structure, but that does not ever
completed its work. We do not put
doors and windows, nor ended the
various installations, and not of
concern. In a word, preparing the
structure and then not occupied
most of what happened afterwards.
So, say that he is not entitled to be
between the architects.
Some engineers argue that Félix
Candela was a wonderful architect
who did not know how to calculate
its structures, which often made
eye. So modest is its importance in
the history of engineering.
Félix Candela is in a no man's land
and is attacked from two fronts,
seemingly irreconcilable.
Looking at his work is evident that
he is predominantly occupied
structures, but only those that are
indispensable for architecture, not
bridges, depots, the works of their
buildings and other engineering.
In particular, the specific nature of
his work lies in the sensitivity that
was in line with resistant forms.
His biggest contribution in the field
of structural facilities were in the
form of shells, generated from
hyperbolic paraboloid, a geometric

21
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

shape of extraordinary efficiency expressed in his work a few ideas:
that has become the hallmark of its the idea that the structure must be
a poet, the belief that the
structure is shaped much more
than the material used, and the
line of research on reading
coverages of reinforced
concrete.
All the work of Félix Candela
reaffirms the role of the designer
in relation to structural problems,
for research form of resistance:
the extraordinary relationship
between strength and resistance,
he always sought the shape of
the problem, not the problem of
form.
Here's why he was an architect
structure or whether more like an
architectural structure.

Awards
1961 Gold Medal from Istitution
of engineer Structurist, London.
1961 award Auguste Perret from
International union of Architets.
1961/62 Charles Eliot Norton
professor of Poetry
dell'Università di Harvard
Cambridge/Massachusetts
1981 Gold Medal of the
architectural
1985 Award Antonio Camuñas
of architecture.
architecture. Candela has
22
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Technical and theoretical Enrique Chao, “Fèlix Candela: una
writings
lux nel corazon” in Construcción y
Hacia una nueva filosofia de la
Tecnología rivista dell’Instituto
estructuras,Congresso Scientifico
Mexicano del Cemento y del
Mexico 1951
Concreto, Mexico, dicembre 2003.
Formulas generales para el calculo
Juan Tonda Magallòn "Félix
de esfuerzos en paraboloides
Candela” CONACULTA, mexico
hiperbolicos. ACI 1960
2000
En defensa del formalismo y otros
Lorraine Lin, “Fèlix Candela:
escrittos , Xairat Ediciones, Bilbao
Creator de poetic structures 1910-
1985
1997”, in Structure Magazine,
Stress Analysis for any Hyperbolic
aprile 2006.
Paraboloids Architectural Record
Juan de Herrera
(1958)
« Félix Candela, arquitecto.”
Edición de M. Seguí, Madrid;
Bibliografía:
Faber, Colin, "Las estructuras de CEHOPU / 1994.
Candela" , México, Continental ,
Josemaría de Churtichaga
1970
« La estructura veloz –
Juan Ignacio del Cueto Ruiz
Trayectorias estructurale a
Funes, “Fèlix Candela, el mago de
proposito de la obra de Emilio
los cascarones de concreto”, in
Perez Pinero y Fèlix Candela.”
Arquine, rivista internacional de
http://chqs.onexp.com/estudio.htm
arquitectura, Mexico, n.2, 1997

"My greatest satisfaction was to have performed some spectacular
structures ,..., but that he had proved that the construction of thin shells,
not an extraordinary undertaking that immortalized its author, but a
constructive process simple and flexible .. "

Edizione Dicembre 2006

23
Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

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