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Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni

Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni


At

the

beginning

of

modern,

steel

Life

manufacturers said the impulse to create

Outerio Flix 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 Flix Candela


(hereafter FC), who is remembered for
his

extraordinary

roof

of

reinforced

concrete shell, the shape of hyperbolic


paraboloids.
La obras mejor es la que sostiene por
su forma.1
Eduardo Torroja

Spanish Civil War in March 1939.


Son of traders from Crevillente
(Valencia), which tells you not heard the
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.

The best work is that it maintains for its shape.

In Youth FC was a good athlete and won


3

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 Flix 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 Capitn 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


of structure design of steel and reinforced
concrete. The shell structures that are
built in Europe in the twenties (Dischinger
in Germany, Freyssinet in France, Nervi
in Italy and Eduardo Torroja in Spain,
etc.) Drew the attention of very young
Candela, so much so that in 1936 won a
scholarship Study of the Academy of Fine
Arts of San Fernando, with the argument:
"The influence of new trends in the
technique of reinforced concrete above

The Spanish Civil War breaks out in 1936. The


general elections of February 16 left-wing forces are
returning to the government, through the first
experiment of Popular Front. On July 18, however, the
situation falls: some military garrisons arise against the
Republican government ( "alzamiento") and General
Franco arrived on the national soil with the colonial
troops from Morocco. It is the beginning of the civil war,
with serious repercussions on the international level.
Spain is the scene of the first armed clash between
fascism and antifascism, with the participation of many
intellectuals from all over the world, from the U.S. (from
Dos Passos to Hemingway), and with the Italians - the
Mussolini black shirts from a hand, and the anti-fascists
and anarchists on the other - committed on both sides.
The war will end at the end of March 1939 with nearly
one million dead and the victory of the nationalists of
Francisco Franco and the establishment of a
dictatorship based on the legislative power of the
"Caudillo" and the repression of opponents (the "Feroz
Matanza "), Which will last until 1975 and cause the
deaths of 200,000 anti-fascists, hundreds of thousands
of people sentenced to various penalties, 300,000
exiles.

Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni


Pyrenees, the group Candela found

moved to Mexico City to work with Jess

refuge in the concentration camp at

Mart, 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

Guamchil 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


exiles, 100 km north of Chihuahua, where
shortly after she married Eladio Martin,
who knew from Madrid. In 1941 both took
the Mexican nationality. Since their
marriage were born four children:
Antonia, Teresa, and sister Pilar and
Manola.
During the years 1941 and 1942 Felix
Candela worked in Acapulco, in
partnership with a manufacturer. It then
3

France recognized the Franco government, and then


exiles became a problem.

A serious attack on the World Cultural Heritage has been


made in Cuernavaca in Mexico: the destruction of the Casino
de la Selva, the Mexican Sistine Chapel. " The Mexican weekly
'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
Selva in an International Institute of the Arts. The building was
a 'work of famous Spanish architect Felix Candela that ahead
of the curve, the known hazards hyperbolic parabolic dome.
The demolition, authorized by the Municipal Presidency,
started by the U.S. supermarket chain Price costs, continuing
with considerable environmental damage by the Wall-Mart,
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
Siqueiros, Orozco, Rivera, Silvio Benedetto, Atl, messenger,
Camarena, Renau, Meza, Flores, Ballester, Gonzales, Cueva
Del Rio, Pena, Icaza. An even ecological disaster, one that
involved the "Jardin de l'Art" (another name of the Casino de la
Selva). The weekly Valencia 'El temps' in an article entitled
"Vandalism in Mexico'" the complaint also killing lots of trees.
5

The Rangel brothers were members for only 3 years. Felix


assumed the presidency, while Antonio who was master
builder, took care of yards and Julia administration. The
company will operate until 1976, but will leave the Flix
Candela in 1969.

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

Pabelln de rayos Csmicos. A small

architect, engineer, consultant, computer,

pavilion 12 x 10.75 meters, designed by

contractor and manufacturer. His first

Jorge Gonzlez 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
structures using the simplest of those
classics. A second trial, he was standing
in the soil of the Fabric Fernndez. Issue
once conoidale 15 x 6 meters, with a
thickness of 3 cm, supported on the
sides, two strings of different bolt, one of
them very low, much to generate a

provided in the draft Gonzlez Reyna,


arguing that this gave the geometric
stiffness needed to allow the execution of
a cover thickness. This was the first
example in which Candela used a
solution of parabolide hyperbolic (or
Hypar7), a geometric shape that had
7

National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The structures in the shape of hyperbolic paraboloids (Hypar


with the abbreviation USA) in architecture have been realized
for the first time dall'ingegnere Russian Vladimir Shuklov

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 fcil 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

Diseo 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 Barragn. Candela used shells, as

architecture at the University of Mexico

interp, but the experience is not found

City.
From the construction of Pabelln de
rayos Csmicos, Candela began to
receive assignments of greater
importance. Mostly worked with his
(1853-1939), which rifece to areas with double curvature,
defined by analytically Russian mathematician Nikolai
Lobachevsky. The first structure was the coverage of the
Russian pavilion of 1896 to Nizhny Novgorod.
8

F. Amond Etude statique des voiles minces en


paraboloidee hyperbolique travaillant sans flexion
Zurich,1936
9
por fin, al cumplir los quaranta anos, descubr
asombrado que mi desordenata y casual formacin
pareca haber sido misteriosamente dirigida en un
determinado sentito que me permitia encontrarme
preparado para la labor que tena que ejecutar F.
Candela: En defensa del formalismo y otros escrittos ,
Xairat Ediciones, Bilbao 1985 , p.9

10

The key collaborations:


Los Almacenes de Las Aduanas (customs warehouses)
Vallejo, 1953 with Carlos Recamier.
The markets, built between 1955 and 1956 in Coyoacan,
Azcapotzalco and Anahuac, with Pedro Ramirez Vzquez and
Rafael Mijares.
The Restaurant at Los Manantiales Xochimilco, in 1958, with
Joaquin A'lvarez Ordoez
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
Mora Lopez and Fernando Carmona, which began in 1955
with coverage of the stock market (Bolsa de valores) of
Mexico, the various churches: el Altillo (Coyoacan, 1955), San
Antonio de las Huertas (DF, 1955), San Jose obrero
(monterrey, 1959), San Vicente de Paul (DF, 1959), which
continued even when the two architects are separated in 1960
with the church of Santa Monica Lopez of Carmona and in
1963 with the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Madrid,
which was the first by a Mexican architect in Spain and which
marked the return of professional Candela in his native
homeland.
In last collaboration with Santiago Calatrava for the project of
'Oceanographic in Valencia, work completed posthumously.
11

F. Candela, Carta de Flix Candela al director in


Arquitectura, Madrid Ottobre 1959

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 Flix 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 Flix Candela in


AA.VV.El desierro espanol en America. Madrid Min.
Cultura.
13
Tabla de obras de Cubiertas Ala, Germenon Salum
da Juan Tonda Magalln Ediciones Corunda 2000
Mexico DF

of Architects (UIA)
he was awarded
8

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

Castaeda 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
9

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, Flix
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 .

10

Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni


The projects and achievements

Some of the major works and projects by Flix Candela:


1940 Hotel e appartamenti ad Acapulco, in collaborazione con Bringas.
1950-1951 Pabelln de los Rayos Csmicos, Citt del Messico.
1953-1957 Iglesia de la Medalla de la Virgen Milagrosa, Navarte.
1954-1955 Fbrica Celestino Fernndez, Colonia Vallejo.
1954-1955 Bolsa de Valores, Citt del Messico.
1955 Capilla de Nuestra Seora de la Soledad, Coyoacn.
1955-1956 Quiosco de Msica, 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 Baslica de Guadalupe, Citt del Messico.
1958-1959 Iglesia de San Jos Obrero, Monterrey.
1959 Capilla de San Vicente Paul, Coyoacn.
1959-1960 Capilla de Santa Mnica, San Lorenzo di Xochimancas.
1959-1960 Planta embotelladora ditta Bacard, Cuautitln.
1962-1963 Iglesia Nuestra Seora de Guadalupe, Madrid, Spagna.
1965-1968 Palacio de Deportes per la XIX Olimpiade Citt del Messico.
1966 Parroquia del Seor del Campo Florido, Citt del Messico.
1994-2002 L'Oceanogrfic, 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

concrete
from

structural
structures,

hyperbolic

laminaria
generated
paraboloids

(Hypar), a geometric shape of


Roofing read in concrete form of

extraordinary effectiveness, which

armed with

in a draft version, has become the

umbrellas

spigolosi

(edges) or sinuous mantle, that

hallmark of its architecture.

Felix Candela built in the fifties and


sixties,

made

it

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.

11

Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni


funicular trial in the summer of

which breaks away supported by a

1949. For its construction followed

small

the example of some prototypes

The

built in England during the Second

Candela had studied the Strength

World War. It seems that the

of

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

success

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

shells.

exact structures. I started working

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 Pabelln de rayos Csmicos

"despite the Mexican tradition of

designed

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,

subsoil

mm, which allows measurement

frequent

from the neutron, is one of the most

achieved

Indispensabie

to

building
was

because

conditions

with

and

of

support

to

commitment
Materials

making

V.

with

allowed

from

which
him

school.

to

As

"
with

Jorge

Gonzales

earthquakes"

emblematic buildings of his work.

Coverage for a coach was the

With its shape, almost a spaceship

second adventure of Candela with

about

hypars. The shape is very similar to

structure acclaimed by all and that

the time of the Pavilion de rayos

brings

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

to

land,

was

the

first

fame.

on

the

most

simple,
12

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,

domes,

by

fan,

two

almost the entire range


of

forms

known.

Residence
Candela

In

Romero,
had

the

opportunity to do a cover sheet to


Sinusoidal15.

L'inspirazione

The

inspiration came from a photograph


at

Copenhagen,

designed

by

Vilhelm Lauritzen. The structure


was so obvious that Candela was
"trying to do something similar."
Candela built two more of these
structures.

Methods

of

prefabricated steel were used for


Escuola Montes Alpes and for a
seminar. The first is a two-story
structure with light of 8 meters and
sudden changes of 2.5 mt from
both sides. The second has four
floors, and in the original intentions
were to be six. Probably this was
the first time that shells were used
as interpiani. But there were a good
solution and Candela came to be
seen as a "search path without
hope."

1952

is

working

with

Guillermo Enrique Yanez Rosel


15

The covers that folded prism or the Germans call


"Faltwerke" and the French "toits plisss" follow the
principle of resistance through the corrugated

truncated cones, joined a long


common border. The light cone
rising from 9 to 18 meters. The
media were inclined an added
feature, compared to the original
plan to improve its appearance.
Candela

such

comments,

"I

thought to avoid the problems of


calculation on the rods and cones
as

giving

form

of

line."

This is the only building in which


Candela has worked with cones,
and

is

also

one

of

the

few

instances where he worked as a


consultant

only

and

not

as

supervisor.
In 1953, he built an elliptical dome
to

cover

with

roof

residence

hall

dance

of

the

Gallego

Center. The dome is relatively low


and based on existing walls, but
since the plant's dome does not
correspond to the walls, his weight
is transferred to them through a
complicated

system

of

rays
13

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

Monterrey.

in

the

center,

an

old

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

show even an umbrella for sample

hexagonal. The use of a

plan, designed to resist heavy

diagonal

loads, dedicated to many car parks

allowed to increase the size

plans or wholesale stores.

blankets. Advancing in this

forms
rib

with
and

triangular

or

curve

kind of evolution dell'hypar,


very soon discovered they
14

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

for building churches and other

this

surface

almost

magical. Uniting them for their

buildings

curved edges, is formed when two

needs. So it came to designing the

similar

Church

at

the

intersection

cylindrical cruising aisles of the

with
of

more

the

Medalla

aesthetic

Virgen

de

la

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

intersection of cylinders, it has

powerful structure is a fearless

un'intersecazione of iperboloidi and

combination of deformed surfaces,

instead

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

of

masonry,

building.

The

and Picasso cubist experiments.


Subsequently, many works were

Based

on

the

pattern

of

performed with the base of a

traditional plant with three naves, at

paraboloid with only the edges

shells

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

bent. With this last combination

innovative structure that recalls the

was very spectacular the Church of

gothic

Santa

Mnica,

coverage

of

cm

spectacular

cathedrals,

in

and

expressed

designed

by

through the structure a sense of

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

Fernando

Then

Lpez

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

no

game of forces, as very necessary

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

get

and the question of whether the

something more. It is as if Candela

public liked, said, "especially for

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,

Lpez a series of structures. La

and

communication

that

virtually

they

with

all

might

its

vertical

emphasis. Given the basic idea of

Capilla

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,

configuration)

an

corners

the

example of an object with the draft.

unexpected

revealed
push

towards

del

Altillo

supported
which

had

16

in

the

four

was

the

first

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

imposing
cathedrals

stone
and

of

the

development

of

the

draft.

Gothic

Renaissance

16

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

we

project Joaqun lvarez Ordez,

intellectually understand how it

where sometimes polygonal came

worked," and also describes how to

at 25 and 30 meters in diameter.

practice,

long

before

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

was

work

designed

(1967)

the project of the "itinerant theater,"

which

by a young Spanish student Emilio

coverage of the hall of station of

Perez Piero (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 Piero, 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

sites.

Central to the central zenithal

lighting. In these umbrellas formed

leaving

Candela

an

aisle

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 Flix 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 Flix


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 Flix
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.
Flix 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 Flix 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'Universit di Harvard
Cambridge/Massachusetts
1981 Gold Medal of the
architectural
1985 Award Antonio Camuas
of architecture.

architecture. Candela has


22

Felix Candela Costruttore di sogni


Technical and theoretical
writings
Hacia una nueva filosofia de la

Enrique Chao, Flix Candela: una


lux nel corazon in Construccin y

estructuras,Congresso Scientifico

Tecnologa

rivista

Mexicano

Mexico 1951
Formulas generales para el calculo

Tonda

Candela

hiperbolicos. ACI 1960


En defensa del formalismo y otros
escrittos , Xairat Ediciones, Bilbao

Cemento

del

Concreto, Mexico, dicembre 2003.


Juan

de esfuerzos en paraboloides

del

dellInstituto

Magalln

"Flix

CONACULTA,

mexico

2000
Lorraine Lin, Flix Candela:
Creator de poetic structures 1910-

1985
Stress Analysis for any Hyperbolic
Paraboloids Architectural Record

1997, in Structure Magazine,


aprile 2006.
Juan de Herrera

(1958)

Flix Candela, arquitecto.


Bibliografa:
Faber, Colin, "Las estructuras de

Edicin de M. Segu, Madrid;


CEHOPU / 1994.

Candela" , Mxico, Continental ,


Josemara de Churtichaga

1970
Juan

Ignacio

del

Cueto

Ruiz

Funes, Flix Candela, el mago de


los cascarones de concreto, in
Arquine, rivista internacional de
arquitectura, Mexico, n.2, 1997

La estructura veloz
Trayectorias estructurale a
proposito de la obra de Emilio
Perez Pinero y Flix Candela.
http://chqs.onexp.com/estudio.htm

"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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