An exhibition showcasing the work of architect Félix Candela (1910-1997) is currently up at Gallery 400, located in the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois. The show, Félix Candela's Concrete Shells: An Engineered Architecture for Mexico and Chicago, features architectural models, plans, and photographs following the development of Candela's work.
Born in Spain, Candela was exiled to Mexico at the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, where he lived for thirty years and established his career as an architect.
Félix Candela is known for his experimental signature shell structures, which were massive architectural engineering undertakings. To create these curved designs he used hyperbolic paraboloid geometry to reinforce the numerous concrete shells.
These cantilevered forms were not only structural advancements but also brought new textural and atmospheric qualities to the social and communal spaces.
Some renowned structures include the Pavilion of Cosmic Rays at UNAM, the Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca, Los Manantiales Restaurant, and the Palace of Sports for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Candela's advanced geometric designs have influenced contemporary architecture with formal influences seen in works such as Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Ali (Azerbaijan, 2013), FOA’s Yokohama Terminal (Japan, 2002), and UNstudio’s Burnham Pavilion (Chicago, 2009).
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