Felix Candela

Candela’s story is also a fascinating one, but relative to the contribution he made, he too has less written about him than one might expect. According to David Billington, Candela wrote that the hyperbolic paraboloid ‘is the only warped surface whose equation is simple enough to permit stress calculation by elementary mathematics’.2 In terms of structural shells made from relatively unreinforced concrete, Candela was a key member of the first echelon. It seems quite clear that Candela sought a rich mixture of constructional logic, extraordinary structural performance and a compelling aesthetic that seems to work at any scale. Principally he is known for the form that many of his structures take: one or more hyperbolic paraboloids, remembered for their beauty and economy of means, and not so much for their actual geometry. He was born in Spain but exiled to Mexico at the age of 26 at the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War (1936­9) having worked as a military engineer for the Republicans. He found his niche as a mathematician while studying architecture in Madrid, and this talent provided his route.

Updated: 30.10.2014 — 18:33