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The San Antonio de las Huertas Temple is not much to look at from the outside. But fans will recognize Félix Candela anywhere. What appears as some kind of funky abandoned McDonald’s from the Mexico-Tacuba Causeway is, in fact, a 1956 project Candela completed in collaboration with Enrique de la Mora and Fernando López Carmona.
Today the temple is on land that had been part of San Antonio de las Huertas Franciscan Monastery. Largely abandoned by the 19th century, the remaining chapel was demolished after 1920. It lacked “historical and architectural significance.” The only remaining part of the once considerable las Huertas monastery is, of course, the Merced de las Huertas Chapel further up the same street.
This church is one of a number of collaborations between De la Mora, López Carmona, and Candela. Another is the San José del Altillo Chapel in Coyoacán. Here again, Candela’s roof is a series of three vaults aligned and separated with striking stained glass windows. The resulting illumination is a vibrant amber.
Candela’s hyperbolic paraboloids work here, though most apparently from the inside. Inside murals are by the well-known Spanish painter, Elvira Gascón Vera. Painted in 1964, the work is divided into six sections (three on each side) and depicts the life of Saint Anthony of Padua.
Although the building has been altered over its many years, visitors shouldn’t be thrown off by the odd exterior. Inside, it’s a tranquil and positive, perhaps even soaring experience.