Core.Spodent Erik Martínez was able to travel to Mexico recently and photograph Felix Candela’s reinforced concrete shells. Candela’s pursuit to achieve minimum concrete structures is incredible when you think of his ability to design complex structures and his ability to value engineer his design at the time to 50 cents per sq ft.
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Manantiales Restaurant-Xochimilco, Mexico City, Mexico
San Felipe de Jesus Church, Cuernavaca, Mexico
(born Jan. 27, 1910, Madrid, Spain—died Dec. 7, 1997, Durham, N.C., U.S.) Spanish Mexican engineer and architect. He immigrated to Mexico in 1939 and began to design and construct buildings there. His ferroconcrete structures are distinguished by thin, curved shells that are extremely strong and economical; his imaginative use of paraboloid barrel-vaulting helped dispel mistaken notions of the limits of this material. Notable works include the expressionistic church of Nuestra Señora de los Milagros in Mexico City (1955), with a hyperbolic paraboloid roof of ferroconcrete only 1.5 in. (3.8 cm) thick.
Candela studied in Madrid but was forced to flee Spain after his participation in the Spanish civil war. He went to Mexico in 1939 and set up his own construction firm, gaining renown for his design of thin-shelled concrete domes. Among his best-known works are the Cosmic Ray Pavilion (1950–51) for Mexico’s University City; the Church of La Virgen Milagrosa (1953), Mexico City; and Los Manantiales restaurant (1958), Xochimilco.