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Professors to discuss book on structural artist Candela

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010, 4:30 p.m. · 138 Lewis Library

Princeton engineering professors David Billington and Maria Garlock will discuss their book on Spanish engineer and builder Félix Candela at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in 138 Lewis Library.

The book, titled "Félix Candela: Engineer, Builder, Structural Artist," explores the career of Candela (1910-1997), who is best known for the elegant thin-shelled concrete structures he designed and built.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Candela built hundreds of such structures near Mexico City, many of which are still standing. His most dramatic buildings include the Los Manantiales Restaurant, a round building with repeating arches that resembles a giant clam shell, and the Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca, a church with a parabola-shaped spire.

Billington and Garlock refer to Candela's work as "structural art" and write that it illustrates three important tenets: "The first is the true ethos of engineering, namely the drive to conserve natural resources; the second is the ethic of engineering, to resist wasting money; and third, the aesthetic of engineering, to avoid the ugly."

Their book, which was named one of the top 10 architecture books of 2008 by, features photographs, working drawings and essays.

Billington and Garlock led Princeton engineering students in a project to recreate Candela's masterworks for a fall 2008 exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Billington is the Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor of Engineering and a professor of civil and environmental engineering emeritus. Garlock is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

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