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Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Felix Candela: Promoted Thin Shell Concrete Structures

Posted December 06, 2012 12:00 AM by SavvyExacta

Felix Candela was best known for his architectural designs in Mexico as well as proving the potential of reinforced concrete in structural engineering. He eliminated tensile forces in concrete by using it in a shell shape and applied geometric properties for analysis rather than complex mathematical equations.

Education in Spain and Early Work in Germany

Felix was born in Madrid in 1910. He graduated from the Madrid Superior Technical School of Architecture in 1930 and then continued to study architecture in Germany. Under the guidance of Luis Vega, one of his professors, Felix began to enter and win architecture competitions.

His career was interrupted in 1936 with the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. He fought for the republic as a Captain of Engineers but was eventually imprisoned. After the war he was exiled to Mexico.

Major Accomplishments in Mexico

In 1939 Felix established a construction company. He continued to study advanced structural engineering and became famous for his thin shell, minimum concrete structures. They used the hyperbolic paraboloid geometric form (hypar). Some of his most famous works include:

  • Cosmic Rays Laboratory
  • Los Manantiales Restaurant
  • Chapel Lomas de Cuernavaca
  • Bacardi Rum Factory
  • Church of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal

Felix was involved in over 900 projects in the 1950s and 1960s. He later became a professor in Mexico. Felix died on December 7, 1977.

Resources: MIT - Felix Candela; Wikipedia - Felix Candela; image

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