Rosario Candela, the architect who defines 1920s Art Deco grandeur in highly desirous prewar buildings in New York, finally gets his due at the Museum of the City of New York’s exhibit, Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela.

With 75 buildings to his credit, most were built on Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue and Sutton Place, and established the apartment building as a fashionable residence for the affluent, with attributes similar to a private house. It so happens Gumley Haft manages 10 neighboring buildings to Rosario Candela apartment houses, and we are equally enamored of his style.

Organized by Donald Albrecht, the museum’s esteemed curator of architecture and design, the show is a treat for those living in Candela’s buildings, and those who wish they did.

Known for elegant and harmonious proportions, high ceilings, setbacks, and spacious apartments with river views, Albrecht noted that in the classical Candela buildings, “even water towers were encased in highly decorated tombs.”

In a talk given at the museum on a beautiful June evening, Mr. Albrecht considered Rosario Candela, “The New York-iest New Yorker you can find,” and aptly described his work as “suave urbanism that defines New York in the prewar period,” during the Jazz Age of the 1920s.

On the panel were Peter Pennoyer, who designed the exhibit, and is principal in Peter Pennoyer Architects, the award-winning firm which specializes in classical architecture and historic restoration; Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic and editor, currently a contributor to Vanity Fair, and chair of Design and Architecture at The New School; and Elizabeth Stribling, chairman of Stribling & Associates, Ltd., a luxury real estate company.

With Robert A.M. Stern in the audience, as well as Christina Davis, chair of the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, there were some surprise guests in the crowd.

Both Candela’s granddaughter, Patty Candela MacLeod, and Lisa Candela, his great-granddaughter, attended the evening’s discussion on the exhibit. Rosario Candela’s personal residence was in Harrison, NY, and Ms. MacLeod shared that as she was the first grandchild, Rosario would call her his “principessa,” or little princess.

“He spoke 17 languages,” she remembered.

Patty Candela MacLeod, the granddaughter of Rosario Candela, and her niece, Lisa Candela, the great-grandaughter of the architect.

Lisa Candela, the niece of Ms. MacLeod, is a photographer who also studied interior design. She continues the family tradition of building, but in a minimal style related to another time in America’s history.

With the current interest in nature and the environment, Lisa Candela built and operates a tipi hotel in the Catskills, the Mystic Lodge – Blue Jay Thipi.

So if you can’t live in a Rosario Candela building on Park Avenue, you can still say you stayed in a Candela residence in New York. Bovina, New York.

The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street. Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela is showing until Oct. 28th, 2018. Read more about the exhibit in this article by Bart Boehlert for Architectural Digest:

Left, Donald Albrecht, curator of architecture and design at MOCNY, and Bart Boehlert, a design writer for Architectural Digest.

Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic and chair of Design and Architecture at The New School.

Get a Free Quote Today!