Note: After we wrote this section, found outthat the pavilions (and the entire marina) were designed by Peter Schaldermundt. We're still not sure why the pavilions were called Candela Structures or who gave them that name.
Félix Candela and, at right, one of his signature designs —the Manantiales Restaurant in Xochilmico, Mexico, which opened in 1958. (Photo by Frank Scherschel)
Félix Candela's architectural forms were often derived from saddle-like geometric shapes called hyperbolic paraboloids. This drawing analyzes the form of Candela's Manantiales Restaurant in Mexico City.
Who designed the Candela Structures? The original drawings have been lost, so it's impossible to know for sure, but the answer would seem to lie in the structures' name, a reference to the architect Félix Candela. Candela, who died in 1997, specialized in thin shells of reinforced concrete, and the Marina buildings do look like his work. But we've come to doubt that he designed them. Here's why:
But if Candela didn’t design the structures, who did? Maybe Schladermundt; maybe a team at Owens-Corning Fiberglass, which oversaw the manufacturing of the structures; maybe someone else. For now, this question remains a mystery. (Update!: We're happy to report that this mystery has been solved. You can learn the answer right away, or just keep paging through the exhibit and all will be revealed.)
Signs like the ones shown above appear throughout Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Item No. 13 is inaccurate on three levels: There’s no evidence that the structures were "dedicated" to Candela; the Mexican pavilion was actually designed by Pedro Ramirez Vásquez, not by Candela; and the Candela Structures were used as exhibit spaces, not as bus shelters. (Photos by Kirsten Hively and Paul Lukas)
Next: And Then There Were Two