Spanish architect Félix Candela (1910-1997) was known as “the wizard of concrete shells” due to the elastic looking concrete domes and shells that dominated his buildings, including his remarkable pièce de résistance, the Valencia Oceanografic.
During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, Candela was imprisoned in the South of France in the Perpignan Concentration camp, a concrete structure (albeit dome-less). He was not the only Spaniard to embrace and elevate concrete and catastrophe. Thirty years later, after visiting Perpignan’s train station, Catalan surrealist Salvador Dalí was inspired to create “Topological Abduction of Europe” – a homage to René Thom, the French mathematician who championed catastrophe theory. The painting looks like cracked concrete.