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Félix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984

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Preferred Citation

Félix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

Abstract

Felix Candela (1910-1997) was a Spanish-born architect and engineer who gained a worldwide reputation for designing complex concrete structures, especially thin concrete shell structures, many times involving double curvature (hyperbolic paraboloid). This collection contains materials related to Candela's personal, professional, and academic lives, overarching all periods of his career. Project records document the full range of his work of both his Mexican and American periods. The collection contains extensive correspondence with personal friends, clients, and professional and academic colleagues; a large number of reference files relating to architecture, design, urbanism, technology, sociology, anthropology, and current events, compiled throughout Candela's professional life; architectural drawings and photographs from his work; and writings by and about Candela.

At a Glance

CLIO record: View CLIO record
Creator(s):Candela, Félix, 1910-1997.
Title:Félix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984
Physical description:Architectural drawings: 1,876 items; Archival materials: 79 manuscript boxes and 5 oversize boxes.
Language(s):In Spanish and English
Access: This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Dept. of Archives & Drawings' Reading Room, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Series VI: Reference Publications is maintained in off-site storage and must retrieved with advance notification. For further information and to make an appointment to use this collection, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.  More information »

Arrangement

Arrangement

The collection is made up of seven series:

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Description

Scope and Content

Prior to the publication of this finding aid in February 2012, the material in the Candela archive was assigned a box and folder number according to the original receipt of the collection. For the finding aid, the collection was organized in the following series and the folders were accordingly placed in this sequence. As a result, all folders have a new box and folder number. The old box and folder numbers, used prior to February 2012, have been recorded as part of the processing and can be consulted by requesting that information (contact email: avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu). For the majority of cases, the content of the folders have remained intact; if material was separated into different folders, the original box and folder would still be recorded for all materials.

Series I: Project Records: Candela’s practice developed in two ways. In Mexico he functioned both as designer and “master builder” of complex concrete structures, especially thin concrete shell structures, many times involving double curvature (hyperbolic paraboloid). As his reputation grew on the global stage, he was brought into projects as a structural consultant. The organization of Candela’s files is unusual and reflects the particular type of architectural practice he developed. His role in architectural projects focused on the enclosure of the buildings. As a result he did not keep files on a project basis but used his correspondence files to track his business. The drawings in the archive document the extent of his participation in the design of the building and are generally not complete construction sets (no electrical, plumbing, etc.). The photographs too show his work under construction and generally not the completed work. A second subseries of photographs relate to the photographs used in a publication on Candela and these photographs are listed separately within the inventory.

Series II: Correspondence: As Candela developed his practice as a designer of concrete shells, he collaborated increasingly with architects on a global scale. As his reputation grew, Candela was frequently asked to lecture and teach at architecture schools around the world. Candela filed all his correspondence – business, personal, project-related, faculty, etc. – in an idiosyncratic system. He maintained several different filing systems for his correspondence and letters to and from the same person may be found in several folders. He established files labeled by project, date, location, and/or geography, all of which may overlap chronologically. The correspondence has been organized into four series with extensive notes on the correspondents where applicable. The notes should be used to find names of specific correspondents.

Series III: Professional Papers: Candela maintained a high professional profile throughout his career through lecturing, publication, and teaching. For correspondence regarding any of these activities, it is also good to check the correspondence series. Information about Candela’s various teaching assignments could be found in a folder of correspondence under the dean of a particular school. In order to promote his company Candela wrote frequently and sought publicity for his works. For his own professional development, Candela translated engineering and socio-political works.

Series IV: Office Records: The calculations and drawings in this section are drawings about structural problems, not for specific buildings. They function as technical exercises for the development of Candela’s ideas. There are several files concerning Candela’s business collaboration with Emilio Pérez Piñero, a promising Spanish architect known for his work on deployable, and in some cases mobile, reticular structures; including a dome at Salvador Dali’s Theatre-Museum. Pérez Piñero died in a car accident at age 37.

Series V: Personal Papers: Contained within this series are biographical papers as well as documents regarding Candela’s activities and thoughts on the political situation in Spain.

Series VI: Reference Publications: Candela kept an extensive personal library of books, journals, and articles on contemporary architectural projects and developments. These have been organized alphabetically by title or concept, as Candela had filed them.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 This collection is available for use by qualified readers by appointment in the Dept. of Archives & Drawings' Reading Room, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University. Series VI: Reference Publications is maintained in off-site storage and must retrieved with advance notification. For further information and to make an appointment to use this collection, please call (212) 854-4110 or email avery-drawings@libraries.columbia.edu.

Restrictions on Use

Columbia University is providing access to the materials in the Library's collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of Columbia University is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Director, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For additional guidance, see Columbia University Libraries' publication policy.

In addition to permission from Columbia University, permission of the copyright owner (if not Columbia University) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distributions, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. Columbia University makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

Preferred Citation

Félix Candela architectural records and papers, 1950-1984, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

For Further Information

For more information about using the collections and conducting research in the Department of Drawings & Archives, please see our FAQ.

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library. Department of Drawings and Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

The Felix Candela collection was processed over a number of years because of the technical and language demands of the material. The inventory of project drawings was compiled initially by Ruri Yampolsky and reviewed and updated by Elisa Rugarcia. Ines Sanchez de Madariaga created a preliminary inventory of the personal papers and correspondence. Brendan Curley and Elisa Rugarcia contributed to a more detailed inventory of the papers. The final description and arrangement of the collection was undertaken and completed by Daniel Talesnik as a Mellon Graduate Student Intern, under the guidance of Janet Parks, Curator of Drawings and Archives, who also provided the series descriptions. Andrea Merrett, also a Mellon Graduate Student Intern, completed the final arrangement of the collection. Shelley Hayreh, the Avery Archivist, edited and published the finding aid for the collection in 2012.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion October 27, 2011 Finding aid written in English.
    2011-10-27 File created.

CLIO ID: 3464748 View CLIO record

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Index Terms

The names and terms listed below are represented in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a consortial/union catalog offered by OCLC that allows users to search the holdings of multiple archives and libraries.

All links open new windows.

Additional Creators (Personal Names)

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Pérez Piñero, Emilio, 1935-1972PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Topics

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Architects--MexicoPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture, Modern--20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Caribbean Area.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Central America.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--Mexico--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--South America.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Architecture--United States--Designs and plans.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Concrete construction--Mexico.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Flexible structuresPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Roofs, ShellPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Shells (Engineering)PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Structural design--Themes, motives.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Structural engineeringPortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biography

Felix Candela was born on January 27th, 1910 in Madrid, Spain. He studied architecture in the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid and completed his architectural studies in 1935. In 1939, during the Spanish Civil War, he emigrated to Mexico, adopting Mexican citizenship in 1941. During the 1970s he resided in the United States and became a citizen in 1978. Felix Candela died in Raleigh, NC in 1997.

Along with siblings Antonio and Julia he founded Cubiertas Ala S.A. in Mexico City, a design and construction company devoted to reinforced concrete shell and laminar structures. Amongst his most renowned projects are the cosmic ray laboratory at the Ciudad Universitaria, the Iglesia de la Virgen de la Milagrosa (1953), and the Palacio de los Deportes of the XIX Olympics held in Mexico City (1968) in collaboration with Enrique Castaneda and Antonio Peiri.

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