Candela's Shells: The Reinforced Concrete Shells of Architect Félix Candela March 25 - November 15 2015

Photos: Mexican Cultural Institute New York

Félix Candela is known for revolutionizing the architectural world by using for the first time layered concrete structures –better known as shells –which he built in Mexico, United States, and other countries from 1950 to 1970. To accomplish this great feat, he used constructive technology from Europe. The use of this innovative technique in Mexican soil, resulted in an extraordinary development which in turn opened new paths for the use of the hyperbolic paraboloid with great virtuosity.

Candela took advantage of this expressive geometric form to create a body of work that deeply impacted the architecture of the 20th Century. Born in Madrid on January 27th, 1910, Candela graduated from Madrid’s School of Architecture in 1935. Exiled from Spain for volunteering in the Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War, he arrived in Mexico in 1939 and became a Mexican citizen in 1941. Ten years after his arrival, he set out to build his first experimental shell. He founded the Cubiertas Ala Company, the architectural group with whom he created his most renowned works, for which he received international fame. He became a professor at the School of Architecture of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) where he taught from 1953 to 1971.

Candela left Mexico to work as a full-time professor at the University of Illinois. He spent his last years living in Chicago, New York and Raleigh, North Carolina, where he died on December 7th, 1997. “Candela’s Shells” is an excerpt of the great exhibition “Félix Candela 1910-2010”, produced by AC/E Acción Cultural Española to commemorate the 100 anniversary of this structural design genius. The exhibit traveled to the three countries where the architect lived throughout his life –Spain, Mexico, and United States. This exhibition aims to look back into his personal and professional trail. Furthermore, its intention is to assess his legacy and to generate processes that will allow the means of conserving and promoting it adequately. The photographs are complemented with models and reproductions of architectural plans from private collections and three prestigious universities: Columbia, Princeton, and UNAM.

Curatorial research: Juan Ignacio del Cueto

Round table. Speakers:

  • Juan Ignacio del Cueto
  • Ángela Giral
  • María González Pendas
  • Marcos Mazari
  • Pablo Landa
Photos: Mexican Cultural Institute New York
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