Mexico City is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and effervescent cities on the cultural and architectural scene in recent decades. Various authors have positioned it inside and outside the country through projects that make up a meeting platform for the creative community. LAGO/ALGO is part of the list of those resilient spaces that emerged from the pandemic, with the need to reimagine our current context by rethinking how we relate to the public and private space having the iconic Chapultepec Forest as a stage, an 810-hectare urban park that is divided into four sections which harbor some of the most important tourist sites in Mexico.
Félix Candela: The Latest Architecture and News
Designed by Alfonso Ramírez Ponce and Inspired by the Work of Félix Candela: History of LAGO/ALGO Architecture in Mexico City
Architecture is often an ambitious profession, with many architects hoping to positively contribute to the social life of the communities, create emotional responses, and add moments of delight and solace to our daily experiences. However, market forces have a way of applying constant pressure on this field, often being the deciding factor in many design choices. Costs and economic value are generally a good indicator of how, when, and to what extent certain materials are being used: the standard rule is the cheaper, the better. But materials are only part of the equation. Site labor, management, and design costs are also considered, depicting a complex picture of the balance between the cost of materials and the cost of labor and its effect on the architectural product.
Every work of art is an interpretation of the world, of what you are thinking; a realization of your perception which creates and attempts a different world. In the end, a work of art is merely an offering to art.
Mexican-Spanish architect Félix Candela (Jan 27, 1910 – Dec 7, 1997) was known for redefining the role of the architect in relation to structural problems, and played a crucial role in the development of new structural forms of concrete. His famous experimentation with concrete gave rise to projects like the Los Manantiales restaurant in the Xochimilco area of Mexico City and the Cosmic Rays Pavilion for the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Let's think of a paper sheet. If we tried to stiffen it from its primary state, it couldn't support its own weight. However, if we bend it, the sheet achieves a new structural quality. The shells act in the same way. "You can't imagine a form that doesn't need a structure or a structure that doesn't have a form. Every form has a structure, and every structure has a form. Thus, you can't conceive a form without automatically conceiving a structure and vice versa".  The importance of the structural thought that culminates in the constructed object is then, taken by the relationship between form and structure. The shells arise from the association between concrete and steel and are structures whose continuous curved surfaces have a minimal thickness; thus they are widely used in roofs of large spans without intermediate supports.
In structural terms, they are efficient because they resist compression efforts and absorb at specific points on their surface, especially near the supports — small moments of flexion.
Spanish and Mexican architect Félix Candela is widely recognized as one of the most prominent figures in 20th century architecture. His innovative experiments with reinforced concrete produced iconic buildings deemed cascarones, or 'shell structures', such as the Pavilion of Cosmic Rays at UNAM, Mexico City (1951); the Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca, Cuernavaca (1958); Los Manantiales Restaurant, Xochimilco (1958); and the Palace of Sports for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
This exhibition roots Félix Candela (1910-1997) as one of the most prolific architects of the 20th century in his advanced geometric designs and lasting influence in contemporary architecture. It originated through the research of scholar Juan Ignacio del Cueto and is curated by the architectural theorist and designer Alexander Eisenschmidt. The exhibition spotlights Félix Candela’s Concrete Shells through photographs, architectural models, and plans, as well as archival material from his time as a professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 1971 to 1978.
Candela exiled to Mexico
How many lives does a great work of architecture have? The first begins when it is built and inhabited, judged based on the quality of life it provides for its residents. The second comes generations later when it becomes historically significant and perhaps its original function no longer suits the demands of society. The value of such buildings is that they inform us about the past and for that reason their conservation is necessary.
However, in Latin America, there are countless cases of buildings of great architectural value that are in tragic states of neglect and deterioration. Seven such examples are:
Based on an application of math and geometry in the study of Mexican architect Félix Candela's work, the workshop sought to "put form in crisis and take it to its maximum expression."
“Concrete has the ability to be primitive and technological, massive and levitating, to combine the properties of steel with those of mud,” says Rowan Moore in his list of The 10 best concrete buildings created for The Guardian. Through examples spanning three continents, Moore unites old standbys with unexpected wonders, all of which show the varied possibilities inherent in mixing water, aggregate, and cement. In a list that incorporates examples from Classical times to the present, Moore establishes concrete’s unique ability to adapt to different times, styles, applications, and treatments.
Examples by Le Corbusier, Álvaro Siza, Lina Bo Bardi, and Marcel Breuer demonstrate that concrete is anything but workaday or utilitarian. Moore’s list affirms that a material simultaneously strong and light, durable, sustainable, and fire-resistant, can scarcely be considered anything short of miraculous. Of course, ten buildings can only provide an abridged version of concrete’s possibilities, and Moore cheekily apologizes for some of the obvious omissions. Check out the full list here.