Rosario Candela (1890-1953) is considered one of the masters of New York City apartment architecture. If you’ve never heard of him before, it’s only because outwardly his buildings aren’t as flashy as more famous works such as the Dakota, Dorilton, Ansonia or Chatsworth.
Candela made his mark in the late 1920s with luxury apartment buildings – stately and grand on the outside, luxurious on the inside, often with the scale and planning appropriate for mansions. Many of his high-ceilinged apartments contained libraries, servants’ quarters, four and five bedrooms and more. Further, apartment plans separated public (entertainment) areas from private areas and both separate from service areas. House guests could not wander into the boudoir, and maids stayed discreetly out of sight of guests and master.
Candela was an early developer of the penthouse – his way of turning the building code into extra luxury/profit. The building code required setbacks; setbacks became private wrap-around terraces for larger, opulent apartments.
When business slacked off during the Great Depression, Candela developed another profession – cryptology. He even found time to write two books on the subject.
Candela’s body of work is remarkably intact. Many of his buildings are protected by NYC landmark status; his 81 apartment buildings are reportedly all still standing, so you can go see them. To see the interiors, look for a copy of “The New York Apartment Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter” by Andrew Alpern; it contains floor plans and interior photos (and it’s the source that other authorities quote).
Rosario Candela Representative Buildings
- 834 Fifth Avenue (1931)
- 960 Fifth Avenue (1928)
- 720 Park Avenue (1929)
- 740 Park Avenue (1930)
- 770 Park Avenue (1930)
- 778 Park Avenue (1931)
- 1 Sutton Place South (1926)
- 133 E 80th Street (1930)
- 19 E 72nd Street (1937)
- 2 E 67th Street (1928)
- 47 Plaza Street West (1928)
- Cambridge Court (1928)
Rosario Candela Suggested Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- The New York Times IN THE NATION; Apartments by Candela: Grandest of the Grand (September 11, 1988)
- The New York Times Streetscapes | Rosario Candela | A Renowned Architect’s Less Renowned Designs (February 5, 2006)
- City Realty: Top 10 NYC Apartment Buildings Designed by Rosario Candela
- Dwellings NYC: The 3 Kings of Manhattan Residential Architecture (December 19, 2013)
- The Real Deal: Limelight shines on Candela again (October 3, 2008)
- “The New York Apartment Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter” by Andrew Alpern