Rosario Candela (1890-1953) was an Italian-American architect known for his work in designing luxurious apartment buildings during the early 20th century in New York City. Candela’s designs were characterized by their Art Deco and Georgian-inspired elements and their attention to detail, creating some of the most elegant and sought-after living spaces in the city.
Candela was born in Montelepre, Sicily in 1890, but his family moved to Palermo when he was young. At the age of 17, Candela moved to New York City to study at Columbia University. After graduation, he worked briefly as a draftsman before enlisting in the Army during World War I. After the war, he resumed his architectural career and quickly gained a reputation for his innovative and luxurious apartment designs.
Candela’s first major commission was the construction of the 135 East 79th Street building in 1926. The building was notable for its distinctive Georgian-style façade and its spacious and well-appointed apartments. This project established Candela’s reputation as an architect of luxury living spaces and opened the door to many other commissions throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
Candela’s designs for apartment buildings were marked by their attention to detail and their use of high-quality materials. He often incorporated Art Deco elements into his designs, such as the use of sleek lines and geometric shapes, and he was known for his skillful use of setbacks and terraces to create a sense of openness and light in his buildings.
Some of Candela’s most famous works include 740 Park Avenue, 720 Park Avenue, and 1040 Fifth Avenue. These buildings were some of the most exclusive and expensive residences in New York City, attracting some of the city’s wealthiest residents. Candela was also known for his work on country estates, including the Rosemary Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Despite his success, Candela’s career declined in the 1940s as tastes in architecture shifted away from the ornate and decorative styles that he favored. He continued to work on smaller projects until his death in 1953.
Today, Candela’s buildings remain some of the most iconic and sought-after residences in New York City, and his legacy as one of the city’s most talented architects continues to endure. His work represents a unique blend of classical elegance and modern innovation, and his influence on the city’s architectural landscape is still visible today.