Sunday, July 4, 2010

Visiting the Candela Structures

From Urban Omnibus:

The structures are minimal surfaces, a topic that Candela researched extensively. But beyond looking like they might have been designed by him (though they weren’t), we never found any solid connection. They were, in fact, designed by Peter Schladermundt, an architect and industrial designer, and were made of prefab panels — a sandwich construction of fiberglass reinforced resin surrounding a 2-inch foam core — that snap together. As far as I was able to determine, they are the oldest standing fiberglass structures in the city.

Despite that, I know these structures aren’t central to the history of architecture or the history of New York (and they don’t even appear to have made the cut for the new AIA Guide—drat), but I love them nonetheless. They’re so unexpected, so unlike anything else in New York City, and so utterly charming. They’re not pretentious, they just stand guard by the bay, watching the sailboats come and go, the planes take off and land at LaGuardia, and the cars drive by. They were there long before I arrived in New York in 1993, waiting to be discovered. How many other pieces of New York history are hiding in plain sight, with stories to tell? Architecture is just another kind of storytelling, and stories are what make a space into a place and connect all the disparate pieces of the metropolis.


Cav said...

I'd say the candelas were central to the history and architecture of NYC.
The candelas at the marina are from the 1946-65 World's Fair. One of them was where the Coast Guard had an exhibit.
Here's a link to the World's Fair Community site with more info and some photos:

Joe said...

From what I remember of the worlds fair some of these were information booths with maps and telephones. They also had tables and venders

Anonymous said...

I know a guy that saw them installed - said it reminded him of an umbrella unfolding.

Anonymous said...

It's in queens. Of course they can't be found in the AIA guide!

Kirsten Hively said...

You can find out the whole story at the site Paul & I created to document the results of our research (it's also mentioned in the full version of that story on Urban Omnibus):