The Candela Structures


About Exhibit Visit FAQ Photos Press Credits Contact Origins: The '64 Fair What's In a Name? And Then There Were Two Buildinglets by the Bay Models of Delight Where to Find Them One Mystery Solved! What's Next? Rename the Candelas Pictures of the Exhibition Make Your Own Mini-Exhibit! Introduction

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.


What's In A Name?

Felix Candela and his Manantiales Restaurant

Félix Candela and, at right, one of his signature designs —the Manantiales Restaurant in Xochilmico, Mexico, which opened in 1958. (Photo by Frank Scherschel)

geometric analysis of Candela's Manantiales Restaurant

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:

  • Books about Candela make no mention of the World's Fair, and Candela scholars have told us they're unfamiliar with the Marina structures.
  • Candela's widow, Dorothy Candela, could not recall him having worked on the structures.
  • Candela's papers, which are held at Columbia University, show nothing related to the Fair.
  • The architect of record for the World's Fair Marina was Peter Schladermundt, who had no known connection to Candela. (Schladermundt died in 1975, and we’ve been unable to locate his papers.)

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.)

one of the signs is near the Candela Structures

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)




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