Félix Candela's Concrete Shells: An Engineered Architecture for México and Chicago

Curated by Alexander Eisenschmidt

PABELLÓN DE RAYOS CÓSMICOS
(COSMIC RAYS PAVILION)

Ciudad Universitaria (University City), Mexico City, Mexico, 1951
Collaborator: Jorge González Reyna
Photographs: Erwin Lang (left) and Armando Salas Portugal (above)
Model: Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (FA-UNAM)

BOLSA MEXICANA DE VALORES
(MEXICAN STOCK EXCHANGE BUILDING)

Centro Histórico (Historic Center), Mexico City, Mexico, 1953-55
Collaborators: Enrique de la Mora and Fernando López Carmona
Photograph: Erwin Lang
Model: FA-UNAM

CABARET LA JACARANDA, HOTEL EL PRESIDENTE
(LA JACARANDA NIGHTCLUB, EL PRESIDENTE HOTEL)

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, 1957
Collaborator: Juan Sordo Madaleno
Photograph: Antonio Candela, courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University
Model: FA-UNAM

CASETA DE VENTAS VERDE VALLE
(VERDE VALLE SALES STAND)

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, 1960
Collaborator: Alfredo Terrazas de la Peña
Photograph: Antonio Candela, courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University
Model: FA-UNAM

PALACIO DE LOS DEPORTES
(PALACE OF SPORTS)

Magdalena Mixhuca, Mexico City, Mexico, 1968
Collaborators: Enrique Castañeda Tamborell and Antoni Peyrí i Macià
Photographs: Courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University (above and right)
Model: FA-UNAM

PARROQUIA SAN ANTONIO DE LAS HUERTAS
(PARISH OF SAINT ANTHONY OF THE ORCHARDS)

Tlaxpana, Mexico City, Mexico, 1956-59
Collaborators: Enrique de la Mora and Fernando López Carmona
Photograph: Guillermo Zamora, courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University
Model: FA-UNAM

PLANTA EMBOTELLADORA BACARDÍ
(BACARDÍ BOTTLING PLANT)

Tultitlán, Estado de México, Mexico, 1958-60 (first stage), 1971 (second stage)
Collaborator: Juan Antonio Tonda
Photograph: Antonio Candela, courtesy Archivo Bacardí-México
Model: FA-UNAM

IGLESIA DE LA VIRGEN DE LA MEDALLA MILAGROSA
(CHURCH OF OUR LADY OF THE MIRACULOUS MEDAL)

Vértiz Narvarte, Mexico City, Mexico, 1953-57
Collaborators: José Luis Benlliure Galán and Fernando Fernández Rangel
Photograph: Lola Alvarez Bravo, courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University
Model: FA-UNAM

CAPILLA DE PALMIRA
(CHAPEL OF PALMYRA)

Lomas de Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, 1958-59
Collaborators: Guillermo Rossell and Manuel Larrosa
Photographs: Alberto Moreno Guzmán (left) and Antonio Candela (above)
Model: FA-UNAM

CAPILLA DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DE LA SOLEDAD, “EL ALTILLO”
(CHAPEL OF OUR LADY OF SOLITUDE, “THE ATTIC”)

Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico, 1955-57
Collaborators: Enrique de la Mora and Fernando López Carmona
Photograph: Erwing Lang, courtesy Félix & Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University
Model: FA-UNAM

IGLESIA DE SANTA MÓNICA
(CHURCH OF SANTA MONICA)

Del Valle, Mexico City, Mexico, 1960-63
Collaborator: Fernando López Carmona
Photograph: Juan Guzmán
Model: FA-UNAM

CAPILLA DE SAN VICENTE DE PAUL
(CHAPEL OF SAINT VINCENT DE PAUL)

Coyoacán, Mexico City, Mexico, 1958-60
Collaborators: Enrique de la Mora and Fernando López Carmona
Photograph: Guillermo Zamora
Model: FA-UNAM

PARROQUIA DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DE GUADALUPE
(PARISH OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE)

Madrid, Spain, 1963
Collaborators: Enrique de la Mora, José Ramón Aspiazu, and José Antonio Torroja
Photograph: Pablo Lines
Model: Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (FA-UNAM)

CANDELA’S DRAWINGS

  1. Detail section study drawings of Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe (Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe) 
  2. Plan, elevation, and section drawing of Capilla de San Vicente de Paul (Chapel of Saint Vincent de Paul) 
  3. Building section and column detail drawings of Iglesia de Santa Mónica (Church of Santa Mónica) 
  4. Plan and section drawing of Capilla de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, “El Altillo” (Chapel of Our Lady of Solitude, “The Attic”) 
  5. Plan drawing of Capilla de Palmira (Chapel of Palmyra) 
  6. Exterior and interior elevation drawings of Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal) 
  7. Plan and elevation drawings of Planta Embotelladora Bacardí (Bacardí Bottling Plant) 
  8. Plan and elevation drawings of Parroquia San Antonio de las Huertas (Parish of Saint Anthony of the Orchards) 
  9. Elevation and section drawings of Palacio de los Deportes (Palace of Sports)
  10. Interior perspective drawing of Palacio de los Deportes (Palace of Sports) 
  11. Plan and section drawings of Caseta de ventas Verde Valle (Verde Valle Sales Stand) 
  12. Plan and section drawings of Cabaret La Jacaranda, Hotel El Presidente (La Jacaranda Nightclub, El Presidente Hotel) 
  13. Section drawings of Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (Mexican Stock Exchange Building) 
  14. Plan drawing of Restaurante Los Manantiales (Los Manantiales Restaurant)

Pages 1-6 and 8-12, courtesy Avery Drawings and Archives Collection, Columbia University
Pages 7 and 13-14, courtesy Archivo de Arquitectos Mexicanos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

Workers load-testing experimental umbrella-shaped hypar, Vallejo, Mexico City, 1953Courtesy Félix and Dorothy Candela Archive, Princeton University

FÉLIX CANDELA
Map of Locations of his Work in Mexico City, 1969
Courtesy Avery Drawings and Archives Collection, Columbia University

Poster for “Architecture Faculty Exhibition”
April, 1975

Courtesy Steven Reardon

“Polémica Sobre La Arquitectura: Diálogo Con El Arq. Félix Candela En Chicago, Illinois”
(“Polemics on Architecture: Dialogue with Architect Félix Candela in Chicago, Illinois”)

from Calli International Nueva Época: Revista analítica de arquitectura contemporánea, #65, 1975, 11-16

FÉLIX CANDELA
Pencil Drawings, Chicago, 1975-78
Photographs of original drawings
Hypar Surface Condition, Chicago, ca. 1975 (top left); Plaza Pavilion, unknown location, Chicago, 1976 (bottom left); Park Shell, unknown location, Chicago, 1978 (right)

GRUPO TYPSA (Félix Candela as consultant)
Elevation of Stadium Roof for The Islamic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Section, 1986Photograph of original drawings
Courtesy Archivo de Arquitectos Mexicanos, Universidad Naticonal Autónoma de México (UNAM) 

FÉLIX CANDELA
Interior Perspective
Drawing of Stadium Santiago Bernabeu Project, Madrid, 1975

Photograph of original drawings
Courtesy Archivo de Arquitectos Mexicanos, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

STEVEN REARDON
Drawings for Kuwait Swimming Arena #1-4, Student Project for Candela Studio at the School of Architecture, University of Illinois Chicago Circle, 1976
Courtesy Stevent Reardon

Ferro-Cement Sculpture at the University of Illinois at Chicago Campus, Built by Civil Engineering Student Under the Supervision of Professor Surendra Shah in 1977 Photograph: Christopher Markin

Personal accounts of meetings with Candela
Included are discussions of Candela during his time in Chicago (1971-78).
Accounts by William Baker, Stuart Cohen, Geoff Goldberg, Steven Reardon, Ken Schroeder, Surendra Shah, and Stanley Tigerman

Two tables with materials focusing on Candela’s time in Chicago, the city in which he lectured and exhibited multiple times before arriving to teach as a full professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle (today UIC) in 1971.

TABLE 1

  1. “Candela’s Work at Pier,” Daily Illini, Oct. 29, 1958 (reproduction of newspaper clipping)
  2. “Architects Plan Confab on Design,” Daily Illini, Oct. 18, 1956 (reproduction of newspaper clipping) 
  3. University Gallery, “Concrete Shells by Félix Candela,” Mar. 17, 1961 (reproduction of expense notice for exhibition at University of Illinois at Navy Pier) * No. 1-3, courtesy UIC Library, Special Collections and University Archives
  4. “Félix Candela,” invitation for lecture by Candela at the Graham Foundation, Oct. 6, 1964 and, letter from Leonard J. Currie (Dean, College of Architecture and Art, UICC) to George E. Danforth (Director, School of Architecture and Planning, IIT), Sep. 30, 1964, discusses a guided tour for Candela of UICC campus by Walter Netsch 
  5. Letter from Leonard J. Currie to John Entenza (Director, Graham Foundation), March 15, 1971, funding request to bring Candela to Chicago for a visit
  6. “Sangría -- Fiesta with Candela,” Apr. 21, 1971, invitation to a reception/party for Candela at UICC with note from Leonard J. Currie to John Entenza, accompanied by promotional flyer for Graham Seminar lecture by Candela on the same day at noon at UICC * No. 4-6, courtesy Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago
  7. Letter from George E. Dunforth to John Entenza, Apr. 8, 1971, notifying of Candela lecture on Apr. 22, 1971, courtesy Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago 
  8. “Shell Structures in Mexico,” announcement for Candela lecture at the Graham Foundation, presented by the Society of Architectural Historians, Chicago Chapter, March 7, 1972) (reproduction), courtesy UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts Archive 
  9. Memorandum from UICC Board of Trustees meeting, approval of Candela’s appointment to professor at UICC, July 21, 1971 (reproduction), courtesy UIC Library, Special Collections and University Archives
  10. Carol Olmsted, “Discuss environment oriented school here,” unknown paper, Feb. 28, 1974 (reproduction of newspaper clipping), courtesy UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts Archive 
  11. Calli Internacional Nueva Época: Revista analítica de arquitectura contemporánea, #65, 1975, contains Candela interview reproduced on the wall here, courtesy Alexander Eisenschmidt 
  12. Félix Candela, “Shell Structures and Climatic Influences,” abstract for conference talk, courtesy UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts Archive
  13. Félix Candela, letter to Andrew S. Messick of Messick Construction & Development Co. about Chicago tennis court roof project, July 12, 1974 (photograph of original letter) 
  14. Contemporary Architects Series: Pier Luigi Nervi, Félix Candela (Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, 1974), courtesy Alexander Eisenschmidt 
  15. Letter from Academic Vice-Rector of Universidad Nacional Federico Villareal, Lima, Peru, Feb. 21, 1977, notification for Candela’s appointment as an honorary professor (reproduction), courtesy UIC Library, Special Collections and University Archives 
  16. Letter from Norman F. Cantor (Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UICC), May 17, 1977, congratulates Candela for his appointment as an honorary professor
  17. Letter from Alan M. Voorhees (Dean, College of Architecture, Art, and Urban Science at UICC), Jan. 5, 1978, congratulates Candela on his award from the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects 
  18. “Town Talk,” Downtown News, Nov. 29, 1977, Candela mentioned as award recipient from the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects (reproduction of newspaper clipping) 
  19. News: University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, May 12, 1977, press release about a panel discussion on the work of Luis Barragán (misspelled in document), led by Candela, May 25, 1977
    * No. 16-19 courtesy UIC College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts Archive
  20. Félix Candela, En defensa del formalismo y otros escritos (Xarait, 1985), two copies of Candela’s book, one closed and one opened to the title page, showing Candela’s handwritten dedication to UICC, courtesy Alexander Eisenschmidt and UIC Library 
  21. “Félix Candela,” The News & Observer, obituary for Candela, Dec. 9, 1997 (newspaper clipping), courtesy Alexander Eisenschmidt


TABLE 2

Reyner Banham, “Simplified Vaulting Practices,” Architectural Review, vol. 114 (September 1953), 199- 202

“Wizard of the Shells,” Architectural Forum, vol. 3, #5 (November 1959), 154-159

Arts & Architecture, vol. 73, #5 (May 1956), Candela structure featured on cover, interior article: Colin Faber, “Structure by Felix Candela,” 20-25

“Four Great Pours,” Architectural Forum, vol. 115, #3 (September 1961), 104-115

“Candela,” Zodiac, vol. 21/22, #22, 70-87

Burton Holmes and Thomas Creighton, “Can a Man Be Architect, Engineer, and Builder?” Progressive Architecture, vol. 40 (February 1959), 140-141

Ester McCoy, Félix Candela: Shell Forms (1957), courtesy Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago

Colin Faber, Las Estructuras de Candela (Mexico City: Continental, 1970), showing Candela’s handwritten dedication to UICC

Unless otherwise indicated, all bound journal volumes courtesy UIC Library

Candela en el cine mexicano(Candela in Mexican Cinema) by Aurelie Semichon and Elisa Lozano, 2010
This video compiles film excerpts focusing on moments during which Candela’s structures become the movie set.

El aviso inoportuno by Rafael Baledón, 1969
Palacio de los Deportes (Palace of Sports), 1968
La montaña sagrada by Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973
Palacio de los Deportes (Palace of Sports), 1968
Cuernavaca en primavera by Julio Bracho, 1965
Escultura Las Alas de Tequesquitengo (Sculpture Las Alas, at Tequesquitengo), 1958 and Casino de la Selva (Hotel Casino de la Selva), 1960
Sí quiero by Raúl de Anda, 1965
Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), 1955
Cruz de amor by Federico Curiel, 1969
Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), 1955
Solo para ti by Ícaro Cisneros, 1966
Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), 1955
Domingo salvaje by Francisco del Villar, 1966
Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), 1955
Espiritismo by Benito Alazraki, 1961
Iglesia de la Virgen de la Medalla Milagrosa (Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal), 1955

RESTAURANTE LOS MANANTIALES
(LOS MANANTIALES RESTAURANT)

Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico, 1958
Collaborators: Fernando and Joaquín Álvarez Ordóñez
Photograph: Juan Guzmán, courtesy Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint, IIE-UNAM
Model: FA-UNAM

Construction of Los Manantiales RestaurantXochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico, 1958
Collaborators: Fernando and Joaquín Álvarez Ordóñez
Photographs: Juan Guzmán, courtesy Archivo Fotográfico Manuel Toussaint, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (IIE-UNAM)

Workers constructing the concrete shell at Restaurante Los Manantiales (Los Manantiales Restaurant), Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico, 1958Photograph: Juan Guzmán, courtesy Archivo Fotográfico Fundación Televisa, México