|Born||March 07, 1890
|Died||October 03, 1953
Mount Vernon, New York
|Buildings||740 Park Avenue
834 Fifth Avenue
One Sutton Place South
Rosario Candela (March 7, 1890 – October 3, 1953) was an Italian American architect who achieved renown through his apartment building designs in New York City, primarily during the boom years of the 1920s. He is credited with defining the city's characteristic terraced setbacks and signature penthouses. Over time, Candela's buildings have become some of New York's most coveted addresses. As architectural historian Cristopher Gray has written: "Rosario Candela has replaced Stanford White as the real estate brokers' name-drop of choice. Nowadays, to own a 10- to 20-room apartment in a Candela-designed building is to accede to architectural as well as social cynosure."
Early life and education
Born in Montelepre, Sicily in 1890, Candela immigrated to New York in 1906. He returned to Sicily after his arrival to study there and returned to the US in 1909. His father was Michele Candela, a plasterer, and his mother was Josephine Pizzurro. He gained admission to the Columbia University School of Architecture and graduated in 1915. Keenly aware of his talent, he went so far as to erect a velvet rope around his drafting table to prevent other students from copying his designs.
After graduation, Candela worked briefly as a draftsman for the Palermo-born Italian-American architect, Gaetan Ajello. After another brief stint with the firm of Frederick Sterner, Candela set up his own practice in 1920. His first major commission was for an apartment house at West 92nd Street and Broadway. Shortly thereafter, he received his first commission for an East Side apartment at 1105 Park Avenue. During the next five years, Candela designed a number of residential buildings on the Upper West Side, primarily on West End Avenue and Riverside Drive. During this period, the West side was undergoing an intense transformation from an area of primarily single-family homes to one characterized by the apartment buildings.
Candela's greatest work would occur during the latter half of the 1920s, when he designed numerous apartment buildings on the Upper East Side, primarily on Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, as well as at Sutton Place and other locations. In 1927 and 1928, Candela designed 19 apartment buildings, including 960 Fifth Avenue (at East 77th Street) and 720 Park Avenue (at East 70th Street). He had more commissions in 1929, but the housing boom had begun to slow prior to the stock market crash in October. Of 27 designs that year, only 12 were completed. These included 740, 770, 778 and 834 and 1040 Fifth Avenue.
The exteriors of his buildings tended to be understated, particularly in view of some of the more exuberant styles popular during the period. However, he was considered a master of design when it came to the interiors. Many apartments were constructed as duplex residences with grand entry foyers; curved, freestanding stairways; and dramatic public rooms. Some of the designs, including that of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. triplex at 740 Park Avenue, were palatial by even the considerable standards of the day. That triplex, of more than 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2), "had, depending on who was counting, anywhere from twenty-three to thirty-seven rooms, the discrepancy caused by such questions as whether one included hallways and foyers the size of ballrooms, servants quarters, and the fourteen bathrooms".
During the Great Depression, work fell off dramatically and Candela received only sporadic commissions. While the quantity declined considerably, the quality of his designs rarely suffered. During this time, he expressed his interest in codes and ciphers, publishing two books on the topic. He continued his practice up until his death in 1953. Chesley Bonestell, first an architect, and later a noted science fiction illustrator, painted two pictures for him, one of his home and one of his son.
Candela began studying cryptography in 1930 after learning about the accomplishments of the Army Signal Corps in WWI. He decrypted messages originally coded in 1898 by Commandant Étienne Bazeries of the French Army. Commandant Bazeries was “one of the most brilliant cryptologists of” his era, and he developed an encryption method considered unbreakable. Candela wrote a book, The Military Cipher of Commandant Bazeries, in 1938 detailing how he broke Bazeries' code. Starting in 1941, Candela taught a class on cryptography and cryptanalytics at Hunter College in New York. At the time, the course was considered the only one of its kind offered to the public in the United States.
Books by Candela
- Candela, Rosario (1938). The Military Cipher of Commandant Bazeries — An Essay in Decrypting. New York: Cardanus Press. OCLC 814084.
- Candela, Rosario (1946). Isomorphism and Its Applications in Cryptanalytics. New York: Cardanus Press. OCLC 708605.
- Alpern, Andrew; Christopher Gray, preface. David Netto, foreword. The New York Apartments Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter. New York: Acanthus Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-926494-20-6
- 1220 Park Avenue, 1930
- 770 Park Avenue, 1930
- 1040 Fifth Avenue, 1930
- 1021 Park Avenue, 1930
- 834 Fifth Avenue, 1930
- 1500 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 1931
- 56 Seventh Avenue, 1931
- 778 Park Avenue, 1931
- 2 Beekman Place, 1932
- 3 Times Square (Rialto Theatre), 1935 (replaced by Reuters Building, 2001)
- Normandie Theatre (51 East 53rd Street), 1936 (demolished in the 1950s)
- 19 East 72nd Street, with Mott B. Schmidt, 1936
- Regency Park, 1937
- 955 Fifth Avenue, 1938
Outside of New York City:
- Personal Normandy Style home in Harrison, New York 1930
- Personal homes of friends in Bronxville and Tarrytown
- 44 East 67th Street, 1941
- 135 East 54th Street, 1948
- 1 East 66th Street, 1948
Twin apartments on Collins Ave. In Mount Vernon abutting the Fleetwood train station.
- 3103 Fairfield Avenue, Riverdale, The Bronx (1949)
- Montclair on the Park, St. Louis, MO, 1951
- 960 Fifth Avenue, with Warren & Wetmore, 1929
- Lee, Linda (2001-10-11). "CURRENTS: ARCHITECTURE; An Inside Look At Grand Apartments". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Gray, Christopher, in the foreword to: Alpern, Andrew (2001). The New York Apartment Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter. New York: Acanthus Press. ISBN 0-926494-20-1. OCLC 46385874.
- U.S. Immigration Service. List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the U.S. Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival (Ship Manifest), Immigration Service Form 500 B. S.S. Napolitan Prince sailing from Palermo on November 12, 1906 and arriving in Port of New York on November 27, 1906. American Family Immigration History Center (Ellis Island Archives) posted this manifest online at www.ellisisland.org.
- U.S. Immigration Service. List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the U.S. Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival (Ship Manifest), Immigration Service Form 500 B. S.S. Sicilian Prince sailing from Palermo on October 22, 1906 and arriving in Port of New York on November 08, 1906. American Family Immigration History Center (Ellis Island Archives) posted this manifest online at www.ellisisland.org.
- Gray, Christopher (1988-09-11). "Apartments by Candela: Grandest of the Grand". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Gross, Michael (2005). 740 Park : The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building. New York: Broadway Books. pp. 4, 38. ISBN 0-385-51209-0. OCLC 60669137.
- Alpern, Andrew (2001). The New York Apartment Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter. New York: Acanthus Press. ISBN 0-926494-20-1. OCLC 46385874. Excerpted from book review by Carter B. Horsley
- Gray, Christopher (2006-02-05). "A Renowned Architect's Less Renowned Designs". The New York Times.
- The New York Times. "Deciphering Military Codes Is Course In Hunter College Evening Division", September 28, 1941, D7.
- Candela, Rosario. The Military Cipher of Commandant Bazeries (New York: Cardanus Press, 1938), 3.
- Rosario, p. 10
- Alpern, Andrew (2001). The New York Apartment Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter. New York: Acanthus Press. ISBN 0-926494-20-1. OCLC 46385874.
- New York 1930: Architecture Between the Two World Wars, Robert A.M. Stern et al.
- American Guild of Organists. "Second Presbyterian Church". Retrieved 2007-10-10.
- Gray, Christopher (2004-09-05). "Streetscapes: An Elegant 1920's Building at an Unshowy Address". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Gray, Christopher (1990-10-21). "Streetscapes: 740 Park Avenue; Repairs for a '29 Luxury Co-op". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Barbanel, Josh (2006-11-09). "A Classic Candela With a Storied Past, but Few Takers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Gray, Christopher (2003-06-08). "Streetscapes: 770 and 778 Park Avenue, at 73rd Street; Fraternal-Twin Examples of East Side Superluxury". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
- Gray, Christopher (1996-09-29). "A 30's Building Where the Duplex Was King". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21.
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