1996 – L’Oceanografic
Innovation: L’Oceanografic/thin-shell concrete structure
Location: Valencia, Spain
By: Felix Candela
Spanish born architect Felix Candela used thin-shell reinforced concrete to create his signature hyperbolic parabola structures. L’Oceanographic in Valencia, Spain was his final project, which was completed posthumously (1997). The hyperbolic parabola shape of the roof was inspired by the Los Manantiales Restaurant in Mexico City, which Candela designed in 1958. In this building, Candela integrated design and sound structure. In his time, most shell-like structures had to be reinforced with ribs, which added to the structures thickness, and took away from its simplicity. Candela accepted the challenge of developing a design that did not rely on these ribs and that could fully display the aesthetics of a thin concrete shell. Candela’s design expanded the role of reinforced concrete in buildings by integrating its structural properties with complex geometric forms to create elegant structures.