Restaurant Los Manantiales
Sylvester Black constructed a model of the scaffold system Felix Candela used to build the Los Manantiales Restaurant in Xochimilco, Mexico City. Using copies of Candela’s original design drawings, he created a 3-D model of the scaffold in the Rhinoceros computer program. He then “sliced” the 3-D computer model into 2-D planes that could be laser cut. By spending the time to create the computer model and laser cut planes of the scaffold, a job that would otherwise require the assembly of about 7500 sticks of bass wood was reduced to 8 sets of 14 laser-fabricated bass wood panels, and approximately 2000 individual sticks. To assist in the construction process, Sylvester designed a series of reusable wooden braces. These braces, (also laser cut) supported the 2-D panels of each petal until they could be tied together with individual sticks (running perpendicular to the panels). The braces were then removed and reused to build each of the other 7 petals that formed the full structure. Although building a scale model presents a set of challenges distinct from those of building a real-world structure, Candela’s construction-centered approach to design can be applied to both situations.