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Architectural Guide Brazil

Architectural Guide Brazil Laurence Kimmel, Bruno Santa CecĂ­lia and Anke Tiggemann


Introduction A guide to Brazilian Architecture — ­ a personal introduction Anke Tiggemann Brazilian contemporary architecture between centripetal and centrifugal forces Fernando Luiz Lara Topics Brazilian Tectonic Bruno Santa Cecília Favela Architecture Laurence Kimmel “Architecture as landscape” in Brazil —  buildings as temples for democracy Laurence Kimmel Art and Architecture in Brazil The 60s: a geometry for the architecture of movement Laurence Kimmel Appendix Maps Architects Buildings Bibliography Authors Collaborators Picture Credits



20 64



298 320 324 328 331 332 335

5 Norte Page 284 –295 Map A

3 Nordeste Page 232 –261 Maps A and I

2 Centro-Oeste Page 188 –231 Maps A and H

1 Sudeste Page 26 –187 Maps A,  D –G

4 Sul Page 262 –283 Maps A, J, K

1 Rio de Janeiro Anke Tiggemann São Paulo Carolin Kleist Minas Gerais Bruno Santa Cecília Inhotim Laurence Kimmel

28 68 148 170

2 Brasília Maria Elísa Costa Plano Piloto Lúcio Costa

191 194

3 Região Nordeste Bruno Santa Cecília 234 4 Região Sul  Anke Tiggemann


5 Região Norte Bruno Santa Cecília



A guide to Brazilian Architecture — ­ a personal introduction Anke Tiggemann

This book is the result of true global networking …* Shortly before my first private journey to Brazil in February 2011, I met the publisher Philipp­Meuser­in Berlin. When he told me that he was looking for somebody to write an architectural guide Brazil, my first thought was: ‘Nice project, but much too big for me!’ Then, on my very first day in Brazil I met Laurence­Kimmel­from France in an exhibition space in Porto­Alegre.­Not too many tourists there (well, hopefully there will be more now with our guide), and she wanted my husband and me to take a picture of her at an art installation. We continued our ensuing conversation during dinner on the same day. We learned that Laurence was architect and researcher and had written her thesis about the Portuguese architect Alvaro­Siza­Vieira.­Now she was in Porto­Alegre to­visit his project, the Fundação­Iberê­Camargo­(see 206), which was — as she told us — ­one of the greatest architectural experiences of her life. Her excitement­ — ­she says she

spent a solid half-hour at the entrance, under the landscape of abstract concrete pathways­ — ­w as so catching, that I told my husband after Laurence had left us, with a person like her, I could imagine taking on the job of an architectural guide Brazil. But before it got this far, we met Bruno­ Santa­Cecília­in Belo­Horizonte.­We already knew each other from an International Summer School in Detmold,­ Germany,­in which Bruno­took part as a professor at FUMEC,­a private university in Minas­Gerais­. During our stay in Belo­ Horizonte­, he showed us so many excellent architectural projects —­and brought us to Inhotim­, which was my personal high point of the journey — that I plucked up the neccessary courage and asked if Bruno­would be interested in the book project … I never expected such enthusiasm! Finally, after several glasses of Cachaça with Laurence­, who visited us in Berlin to revive the wonderful times we had spent in Brazil, and after a number of Skype­c­ onferences between Paris,­Belo­

*… even this very personal introduction would contain only one third of truth without Laurence’s­and Bruno’s­points of view.

7 Introduction First points of contact­ — interacting with Brazilian art.

Horizonte and Berlin,­the nice, big project began. In the first place it wasn’t the writing itself which made this book a huge effort, but the selection of more than 200 excellent examples out of an enormous number of very good architecture projects in a country of that size. We decided to concentrate on public buildings of the Brazilian Modernity­ — ­ beginning in 1927 with Gregori­Warchavchik’s Casa­ Modernista­(see  063), the architect’s own residence, which is considered to be the first modernist one in the country. Shortly thereafter, in 1928, the Brazilian poet and polemicist Oswald­de Andrade published his Mainifesto­ Antropófago­ in which he prompts Brazil to assert itself against European post-colonial cultural domination. Even so, reaching the final list of 200 works was not an easy task. Our first selection resulted in more than 750  excellent projects throughout the country, much more than we ever expected to find. We are aware that this reduction to less than a third of the initial selection caused many good works to be left out.

Hovewer, we decided to pursue a more balanced selection, concerning its distribution in time and space. The very diversity of architectural expressions contained in this publication is the result of this selection criteria of the works. This guide is also distinguished from other publications by the mixture between foreign and internal views of Brazilian architecture. Coming from quite different cultural contexts and professional backgrounds, the meeting of us three authors encouraged an open-minded approach to Brazilian production. The reader will find here a vast variety from the canonical works of Brazilian modern architecture to buildings that are barely known, even among specialists. We expect these little surprises to give additional flavour to the reading. At the same time, we are open to discussing the 550 projects that could not be mentioned in this edition in a future publication … however; even though we were concerned to ensure the highest diversity, we could not avoid certain recurrences. Analysing the data of the selected works one realises a strong concentration


Região Centro-Oeste 17.6%

Região Nordeste 12.8%

Região Sudeste 61.3% Região Sul 7.4% Região Norte 2.3%

Percentage of buildings per region 

Espirito Santo 1% Minas Gerais 15%

Brasília 14% Goiás 2% Mato Grosso 1% Bahia 6% Pernambuco 2% Paraíba 2% Ceará 2% Piauí 1% Paraná 3%

São Paulo 33%

Rio Grande do Sul 5% Amazonas 2% Tocantins 1% Rio de Janeiro 12%

Percentage of buildings per state 

in São­Paulo­state, which accounts for over a third of the architecture published here, then followed by Minas­Gerais­, Rio de Janeiro­and Brasília, which together equate to the “paulista”­representation. The last third of the selected projects are distributed in the other eighteen states. Looking at the distribution of the works by geographic region, it becomes obvious that there is an extreme concentration of good architecture in the Região Sudeste (Southeast region)­ — ­formed by Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Espirito­Santo­ — where the majority of capital and the productive power of the country are located. Another fact to take into account relates to the authorship issue. The six bestknown Brazilian masters­  — ­namely, Oscar­

Niemeyer­, Lúcio­ Costa­, Paulo­ Mendes­ da Rocha­, João­ Batista­ Vilanova­ Artigas­, Lina­Bo Bardi­, and João­Filgueiras­Lima­ (Lelé)­  —  designed almost half of the buildings selected. Niemeyer­alone accounts for about a fifth of all the works in this guide! This phenomenon can be explained not only by the extensive and longevous work of the architect, but also by the public dimension that his figure acquired throughout the twentieth century as well as the proximity he always nurtured with policy makers. Since the visionary Juscelino­Kubitchek­recruited the young Oscar­Niemeyer­to design Pampulha­ in the 1940s, for Brazilian politicians it was always easier to hire the well-known Niemeyer­instead of holding public architecture competitions; for them it was a

9 Lúcio Costa 3% João Vilanova Artigas 4% Lina Bo Bardi 4%

others 58%

Paulo Mendes da Rocha 7%

Oscar Niemeyer 20%

Percentage of buildings per authorship 

guarantee of popular acceptance without MoMA produced by Philip Goodwin. But the need to provide futher reasons. But if the following years show a dramatic reon the one hand this attitude has left a duction in the production of works of exlegacy of great public works, it also procellence, from the 1960s to the 1990s. duced disasters in terms of architectonThis can be explained both by the miliic and urban results, like the Administratary coup in 1964, which brought in a vitive City of Minas­Gerais State or the dozolent dictatorship that wiped out freeens of cultural centres spread all over the dom of expression in the country, and by coutry, all designed by a unrecognisable the economic crisis that followed the exNiemeyer­. Another side effect of this atceptional growth of the 1970s. But the titude was the loss of opportunities for growth period under the military regime generations of architects, who produced had the side effect of two decades of ecounder the shadow of the Brazilian­masnomic and social crisis. If the 1970s witter. But if his death in December 2012, on nessed the “Brazilian miracle”, the 1980s the eve of his 105th birthday, touched the became known as the lost decade, includwhole country beyond architects, it also ing in architecture. Only in the 2000s did opened up space for younger professionthe country and architectural production als to access public commissions. start a reaction that reverberated in the What’s also remarkable is the concenworks assembled here. The growth in the tration of the best Brazilian architecnumber of outstanding buildings in this ture in the 1950s, prior to the inauguradecade leaves us hopeful of what is to tion of Brasília. This phenomenon is not come in the next few years, considering surprising, since it coincides with a pethat Brazil is moving towards its economriod of great economic growth and culical, social and cultural maturity. Number of buildings per decade tural development. During this period, Number Number Brazil strengthened its industry and its 50 50 democratic base, won two soccer world 45 45 championships (1950 and 1958), and gave 40 40 35 Bossa Nova to the world. As would be ex35 30 30 pected, architecture accompanied this 25 25 period of cultural climax. Moreover, one 20 20 could already notice a great internation15 15 al interest in Brazilian architecture. The 10 10 previous decade had been marked by the 55 00 exhibition of Brazilian architecture to 20´s 30s 30´s 40s 40´s 50s 50´s 60s 60´s 70s 70´s 80s 80´s 90s 90´s 00s 00´s 10s 10´s Decade 20s the rest of the world, especially through Decade Number of buildings per decade  the exhibition Brazil Builds in New York’s


João Filgueiras Lima (Lelé) 3%

10 Photographs by Nelson Kon

Photographs by Joana França

The “Final List” represents not only the voting on each of the more than 200 projects by all three of us­ — ­which means an amalgam of the South American and the European point of view — ­but most of all the appreciation of several professional collaborators from the individual regions of Brazil. Here, we would particulary like to thank Fernando­ Luiz­ Lara­ for his article on Brazilian contemporary architecture; Fabiano­ Sobreira­ for the review of the list of projects in Bahia,­Paraíba­and Pernambuco­and his texts about Centro­de Convenções­de Pernambuco­(see 184) and Calçadão­ dos Mascates­­  — ­C amelódromo­ (see 185); Danilo­ Matoso­ Macedo­ for reviewing the Brasília­list; Alvaro­ Puntoni­ for his assistance with the selection of the projects in São­Paulo,­Flávio­ Kiefer­ for his work on the list of Rio­Grande­do Sul;­ Carlos­ Alberto­ Maciel­ for his texts on the UFMG Educational Building Complex (see  114) and UFMG Dean’s Office Building (see  115) and his suggestions for the Minas­Gerais list;­Diana­ Freitas­ for the texts on Palácio­Gustavo­ Capanema­(see 003) and Fundão­University (see 013); and Carolin­Kleist ,­who provided the introductory text on São­Paulo.­ When finally the basic work began­ — ­the

research and the writing­  — ­ it became evident that such an overview on modern Brazilian architecture did not yet exist­ — ­and much less in English. And that the individual resources were mainly in Portuguese. Two more good reasons for this book. The birth of our first daughter in February­ 2012 made Brazil seem far far away from Berlin and my little family for several months. Nonetheless the list of finished descriptions of the architectural projects grew. From my personal point of view, the breakthrough came on Christmas 2012 and thereby the tidings of joy: Maria­ Elisa­ Costa,­daughter of the architect, urban planner, theoretician and heritage conservator Lúcio­Costa,­gave her personal permission to use her father’s plans and texts concerning his masterplan for the new capital Brasília­in this publication! She also generously provided an introductory text by herself for the Brasília chapter and recommended Farès­ el-­Dahdah­ as translator for Lúcio Costa’s­ elucidations to his “Plano Piloto”.­Thank you very much, Maria­Elisa­Costa­and Farès­ el-­Dahdah,­for your generous support! All information gathered in this book would be nothing without the pictures it contains. Therefore we­  — ­again­  — ­went back

11 Introduction Photographs by Tuca Vieira

Photographs by Marcelo Donadussi

to the network. Physically, by Bruno’s­ good contacts with some of the best architectural photographers in Brazil: we rejoice over a great number of excellent photos by Nelson­ Kon,­ Leonardo­ Finotti­and Joana­ França.­Several photo­ graphers and architects, who provided their wonderful pictures, we met­ — ­until today­  — ­only virtually: Tuca­ Viera,­ Marcelo­ Donadussi,­ Lucas­ Jordano,­ Julia­ Risi,­ João Diniz, Samuel­Fayon,­Thomas­ Gomes­ Daubernay­ and many others.

Speaking of virtual contacts: when this book will be finished and printed, Bruno,­ Laurence­and I will meet physically for the very first time in a threesome at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2013. I am looking forward to it. And I am looking forward to travelling to Brazil with my small family to visit those projects I haven’t seen with my own eyes, yet … and hopefully to meet all those wonderful people in person, who are part of the network that wove this book.

The Brazilian way of life: Anke Tiggemann, Bruno Santa Cecília, Laurence Kimmel

12 SESC Pompeia, São Paulo (1977 – 1986), L. Bo Bardi

13 Fernando Luiz Lara

The challenge of understanding Brazilian contemporary architecture is akin to the country’s size: 5th largest in area (8 million square metres) and population (195 million) and 6th in GDP (2.5 trillion US$) as of 2012. Indeed, any attempt to cover it all would be either too superficial if one strives for regional balance, or too exclusive if one focuses on the denser histories of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.­As a visitor to Brazil with this book to guide you, the chances of you landing in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro are disproportionately high. But you could also be arriving in Manaus,­Salvador or Porto Alegre for instance and this book should also help you. In response to this challenge I am framing this article around centripetal and centrifugal forces, using Rio and São Paulo as main centres (which they are) but looking at how they dialogue with several other Brazilian cities which also have significant architectural traditions. Centripetal forces Rio de Janeiro had been the centre of Brazilian cultural life since King João  VI of Portugal moved there with his entire court in 1808, fleeing Napoleon. The Royal­Academy of Beaux Arts was founded in 1816 with the help of several French artists who were also fleeing Napoleon and neoclassicism would reign supreme during the Brazilian empire (1822 – 1889). With the advent of the Republic several urban initiatives such as the construction of Belo Horizonte (1894 – 1897) and the reforms of downtown Rio de Janeiro (1903 – 1907) set the tone for modernisation while modernism waited a bit longer.

The iconic Semana de Arte Moderna of 1922 inscribed itself in the narrative as the mythical origin of modernism in addition to temporarily dislocating the centre to São Paulo, announcing changes that would be crystalised 40 years later. Rio would soon reclaim its lead with the events around the directorship of Lúcio­Costa at the Beaux Arts School (now Escola­Nacional de Belas Artes) in 1931 and the invitation of Le Corbusier in 1936. The creation of a “carioca” school shows the path taken by Brazilian early modernist architects from an international Corbusian starting point to become more and more nationalistic, while at the same time achieving worldwide publicity. At first articulated by Costa in response to local disputes, a rhetorical stitching with the 18th  century baroque that can be traced back to Museu das Missões (see  212) (Costa­had been operating between conservation and modernity since the 1920s) proved to be a very fruitful discourse, allowing the modernists to claim the ultimate authority for both the past and the future. If, in the traditional modernist avant-garde, the past is used as an alterity, as something to be opposed to, the Brazilian case is singular for the use of historical memory in the construction of modern identity. It should be noted that it is not every past, but a carefully designed and chosen myth of origin that reinforced Rio’s role as Brazil’s centre of gravity. All those ideas would come together at the design of the Grande Hotel in Ouro Preto (see  127), designed by Niemeyer­ in 1940. With its ceramic roofs, wooden columns and trellises the building is


Brazilian contemporary architecture between centripetal and centrifugal forces

14 Igreja de São Francisco de Assis, Belo Horizonte-Pampulha, (1940 – 1945), O. Niemeyer

almost hidden by the site contours and seen from further away, it completely blends into the 18th century city and its baroque churches. A closer look reveals glazing panels accessed by ramps, a modernist modulation on the verandas, and a mezzanine that would became a trademark of Niemeyer­’s high modernism (see 106 – 110; 067 – 069). More importantly, it was there that Oscar Niemeyer­ met Juscelino Kubitschek. The partnership between the young architect and the young mayor would change the face of the country (see 128 – 130; 136 – 145). The Pampulha buildings in Belo Horizonte are the highlight of this moment, marking the first occurrence of centrifugal forces that took the best architecture out of Rio and into Minas Gerais and later Brasília. The Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi, commonly known as the Capela da Pampulha­ (see  109), is a little structure built on a small peninsula in a curved piece of land between the lake and the road, the chapel facing the lake with its back to the street. Its parabolic vaults are covered in little ceramic tiles (pastilhas), the glazing

and brise-soleils are at the façade, the bell tower is inverted, and the inclined canopy that connects the tower to the main door defines the entrance. The Casino da Pampulha­(see 106) was also built on a peninsula between the lake and the road, this time with the entrance facing Burle Marx’s gardens and the driveway. Elements of the entrance — ­such as its freeform canopy supported by thin steel columns and the continuous glass wall on the façade — ­would be exhaustively replicated all over Brazil 1. The interior of the main cubic volume is dominated by a ramp, and round concrete columns punctuate the space. At the back, on the lake side of the building, an elliptical dance floor is integrated with the main volume by another ramp. The glass exterior wall behind the dance floor brings the lake landscape inside the building. Kenneth­ Frampton exalted that “Niemeyer’s­genius reached its height in 1942” at the Casino,­where he “reinterpreted the Corbusian­notion of promenade architecturale in a spatial composition of remarkable balance and vivacity 2.

Grande Hotel Ouro Preto (1938 – 1945), O. Niemeyer

15 The 1950s also witnessed the birth of the São Paulo (paulista) school, another centripetal movement of great density around which Brazilian architecture still gravitates to this day. As early as 1951 Artigas­was pushing reinforced concrete to its limits at the Bus Station in Londrina­ (see 215). The beton-brut was still fresh in Le  Corbusier’s Unité­d’Habitation in Marseille­when Artigas started working on the Morumbi Stadium (1952  –  1960) (see  075). The following year, Affonso­ Eduardo­Reidy, an exponent of the “carioca”­school, would be extremely influential with his design for the Museum of Modern Art in Rio (see 002): its external skeleton of sequential pillars­ — ­ thinner when meeting the ground, thicker above­ — ­supporting large slabs for maximum flexibility. At the MAM Reidy anticipates many of the characteristics that define the São Paulo school that would mature years later. The rigorous structure in exposed concrete dominates the spatial arrangement, allowing an interior flexibility that is highlighted by changing horizontal planes. While the pilotis had been a trademark of the “carioca”­school since the Ministry of Education (1936) (see  003), the Ouro Preto­hotel (1940) (see 127) and numerous others, in Reidy’s­ later works the building is not above the piloti but instead is engulfed by an external skeleton that elevates and wraps around it at the same time. In 1956 Joaquim Guedes built the Cunha­ Lima house (see  037) and the following year Lina Bo Bardi started working on the MASP building (see  040). All those (Reidy­included) are pioneer works in the use of exposed reinforced concrete and simple envelopes with flexible floorplans that would become trademarks of the “paulista”­school. In 1958, a 30-year-old Paulo­Mendes da Rocha built the Clube Atletico Paulistano (see  044), a 2,000-seat sports arena. The result of a competition, Mendes da Rocha’s design sinks the sports court below ground and elevates the surrounding platform to maximise the interior ∕ exterior relationship. The roof is solved with a flat concrete ring, 35  metres in diameter, covered with translucid plates on stretched cables supported by only six triangular


The 1940s would witness the consolidation of the carioca School with the Roberto­Brothers (see 004, 209), Olavo­Redig de Campos (see  019), Jorge Moreira (see  013) and Affonso Reidy­ (see  001  –  003, 012, 014, 018) joining Oscar­Niemeyer­and producing the very best modernism of those times. As a consequence Brazilian architecture entered the 1950s enjoying worldwide recognition for its quality and ingenuity and closed the decade with what should be its climax: the construction of Brasília (1957 – 1960) (see 135 – 145 et  al.). Among the most important buildings of the 1950s in Brazil we can highlight several by Oscar Niemeyer­such as the Diamantina school (see  128), the Copan (see  028), and the JK building (see 101). In São Paulo he also designed the Ibirapuera Park Complex (see 067 – 069) where the prestigious Art Bienal is still held. In the 1950s, architects’ eyes were all on Brazil. But the inauguration of Brasília would also signify the end of northern hemisphere enchantment with Brazilian Architecture. In the words of Adrian Forty and Elisabetta Andreoli “it is as if Brazilian architecture ceased to exist”3. This unfortunate disappearance ended up keeping some of the best Brazilian modern architecture unknown to the rest of the world. Architects such as Affonso Eduardo Reidy had already been published, with his Pedregulho Complex (1947 – 1955) (see  012) and the Museum of Modern Art in Rio (1954 – 1963) (see  002), but others like Lina­Bo Bardi­ (see  034, 040, 062 et al.) and Roberto Burle Marx (see 023, 025, 089 et al.) would only be visible to the world again in the 1980s, close to the end of their lives. Interestingly enough this “disappearance” of Brazilian modern architecture coincides with the military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985 4. Other very talented architects such as João Batista Vilanova Artigas (see  036, 056, 057, 072, 075, 078, 082, et al.), Sergio­ Bernardes (see  009, 024, 189  –  191), Joaquim Guedes (see  037), Oswaldo­ Bratke (see  071), Eduardo Mendes Guimarães­(see 112, 115), and Alvaro Vital­ Brasil (see 100) would never achieve the international recognition that their refined works deserve.

16 FAU-USP, São Paulo (1961 – 1968)

columns. The shape of the columns is perfect for transferring the centripetal efforts to the foundations, stabilising the roof, touching the ground minimally and dramatising all gravitational efforts. It becomes important to point out that all this activity was happening while Brasília­ was being built. International attention (and to a much higher degree Brazilian attention) was focused on the construction of the new capital. What is interesting to perceive is how Brasília would indirectly influence the rise of the “paulista” school. After the transfer of government on April 21st 1960, São Paulo was in a way free to exclaim its own centrality. Rio de Janeiro­would still be a strong cultural centre for decades but it is symptomatic that the transfer from a “carioca”­modernism to a “paulista”­one happened around the same time the national government moved to the Planalto Central, first explored not by the Portuguese but by the 17th-­century bandeirantes paulistas.­ São Paulo had become the new centre and such gravity would be exercised for several decades in buildings such as the soccer stadium in Goiânia (see  166) by Mendes da Rocha or the Bettega house in Curitiba­(see 197) by Artigas. The FAU-USP building (see  078) is a synthesis of all the experimentations of the previous decade. An elevated box of 110 × 66  metres wrapped by untreated exposed concrete, the wooden planks of the formwork are imprinted on those four gigantic blind panels. The panels are supported by thin columns formed by two intersecting triangles that achieve

bi-­lateral rigidity with minimal section. Inside, different floor slabs on different levels are articulated by a generous ramp that occupies one side of the atrium. The roof is solved on a grid that works as a lidless raft slab, covered instead by policarbonate domes. The ground floor, flooded by the skylights, is open to the exterior on three sides. The atrium works as a large internal plaza that ramps down to the lecture hall, doubling as foyer space. The idea was to create a large communal plaza, a space for participation that would be seen (and mostly heard) from all other studio spaces. During the 1960s, the “paulista” school articulation of tectonics and spatiality would be further developed by Joaquim Guedes (1932  –  2008), Carlos­ Milan (1927  –  1964), Fabio Penteado­ (1929  –  2011), João Walter Toscano­ (1933 – 2011) and Paulo­Mendes da Rocha (b. 1928) (see 032, 043 – 0 45, 047, 049, 058 et al.). As summarised by Ruth Verde Zein the “paulista”­school emphasises the full exposure of its materiality, usually with single volumes with generous access and an open plan allowing plenty of visual connectivity inside 5. Such organisation is more visible at section drawings which very often dictates the external appearance of the building. The results are buildings that have a relationship of contrast with the urban fabric, with hard envelopes that turn all the attention to large internal subtractions. The ground floor is usually very permeable and the roof, with plenty of openings for sunlight, is treated as a fifth façade.

17 J. B. Vilanova Artigas and C. Cascaldi

theoretically) of architects signals on one hand the centrality of Rio and São Paulo since they tend to get the most important commissions and on the other hand show that good architecture was being demanded everywhere. Using my metaphor of centrifugal and centripetal forces it is fair to say that the 1960s and 1970s showed a balance that would be broken with another important off-centred movement in the 1980s. When military rule started signaling exhaustion and gradually revoking some of its repressive laws, a group of architects in Minas Gerais launched a movement inspired by post-modernism that would rely on regionalism and the territory for inspiration and on drawing as a means for spatial investigation. For instance, while the iconic buildings of Brazilian modernism were all in reinforced concrete, these mineiros gradually included more and more steel as their choice of structural and even cladding material. At Santana do Pé do Morro­ Chapel (see 125) for instance, the steel structure wraps around and protects the ruins of an 18th-century church, bringing it back to life. The same respect for the scale and forms of the surroundings would be the design strategy of Éolo­Maia and Sylvio Podestá’s most famous building, the Centro de Apoio Turistico­(see  104) at Belo Horizonte’s­main square, with its plethora of references to surrounding structures. Such post-­modern attitude is reflected also in Severiano­Porto’s­ works in Manaus (see  213, 214, 216),


Centrifugal forces As powerful as the “carioca” and the “paulista”­school are, we would be missing a lot if we looked only at the architecture produced in the two largest Brazilian cities. Luiz Nunes had already established Recife as an important modernist hub with his buildings from 1930 – 1933 (see 183, 186) whose influence on his colleagues in Rio de Janeiro have not yet been fully discussed. At a minimum, Nunes’ initiatives were fundamental to the future career of Roberto Burle Marx, whom he brought to Recife in 1932. Always an important centre of cultural production since its foundation by the Dutch in the 17th  century, Recife­was also the place where Acácio Gil Borsoi (see  198) and Delfim Amorim developed a whole school of tropical modernism in the 1960s. In the 1970s the Brazilian northeast would see a number of large buildings by Rio- and São Paulo-­ based architects such as Sérgio­ Bernardes­in João Pessoa (see 189, 190), João (Lelé) Filgueiras­Lima (see 173, 179, 180) and Lina Bo Bardi­(see 171, 172, 174, 176) in Salvador. It is important to note that all three­ — ­Bernardes,­Lima and Bo Bardi­  — ­ were departing from the successes of Brazilian modernism but pushing to overcome some of its shortcomings. Bernardes­was testing new building technologies; Lima was working to reconcile pre-fabrication and low-skilled labour; and Bo Bardi was looking for vernacular design roots that could anchor modernism into the local realities. Such “mobility” (geographically as well as

18 Cantinho do Ceu Park, São Paulo (2008 – 2010), M. Boldarini and M. Matsunaga

Domingos Bongestab’s buildings in Curitiba­(see 199), Lina Bo Bardi’s interventions in Salvador, Marcelo Ferraz­ (who worked with Bardi) and Francisco­ Fanucci’s­Museu do Pão in Ilópolis (see  211) and Rui Otake’s Unique Hotel (see  070). In a slightly different direction, the architects in Porto Alegre were building an identity based on rigorous forms and tectonic investigations in a direct dialogue with neighbours in Uruguay and Argentina­(see 204, 208).

Contemporary balance However, the post-modern wave vanished before it could pose a serious threat to the “paulista” school. The 1991 competition for the Brazilian pavilion at Seville­(unbuilt) marks the resurgence of the “paulista”­orthodoxy on the national scene that would reach its climax with Mendes da Rocha being awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2006. Buildings by Angelo­Bucci and Alvaro­Puntoni (see 086, 093) (the winners of the Seville

Congresso Nacional, Brasília (1957 – 1960), O. Niemeyer

19 Introduction

Centre (see 121). At the Miguel Rio Branco­ Gallery (see 122) it is the materiality that is challenged, with Corten steel now operating where reinforced concrete dominated before. The same liberty with predominant “paulista” vocabulary is seen at the FHE headquarters in Brasília by Danilo­ Matoso,­ Elcio­ Gomes, Fabiano­ Sobreira­and Newton Godoy­(see  162); at the H3O Park and Community Centre in Belo­Horizonte­(see 118) by Ana Paula Assis,­Alexandre Campos, Carlos Teixeira,­ Flávio Agostini­ & Silvio Todeschi and at the Brazilian National Shooting Centre in Rio designed by BCMF (see 015). Running in slightly different but not less important directions are Andrade­ & Morettin’s­structures built out of ready-made components and Marcos­Boldarini’s­precious intervention at favela Cantinho­do Céu (see 083), all in São Paulo, and all somehow challenging the traditional “paulista”­school with approaches that reference Sérgio­ Bernardes and Lelé in the case of Andrade­ & Morettin;­and Lina­Bo Bardi and Joan Villa in the case of Boldarini.­ To close this brief introduction to Brazilpavilion competition) joined Fernando­ ian contemporary architecture, it is safe Melo Franco,­Marta Moreira, Milton­ to say that in parallel to robust economBraga­(MMBB) (see 060, 098) plus Biselli­ ic growth and significant social improveKatchborian­(see 084, 088), Marcio­Kogan ments of the last decade there is a vibrant (see  081) and Decio­Tozzi (see  059, 092) architectural scene that draws on the old to produce some of the most refined struccentrality of Rio and the new centrality of tures of the end of the century, almost all São Paulo in order to freely combine them of them in São Paulo. The industrial and with a plethora of references 6 derived from other Brazilian regions as much as financial centre of Brazil naturally exerfrom Barcelona, Chicago, Medellin or cises its centrality in architectural deRosario.­As a visitor you can draw your bates of the last 20  years but the more own map of interests and connections to we move into the 21st  century, the more which this book serves as an entryway. we perceive a balance between the hegemony of the “paulista” school and the 1 For more on the dissemination of modernist vocabulary in Brazil see LARA, Fernando (2008) heterodoxical adaptations and transmuThe Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil, tations of such spatiality happening all Gainesville: The University Press of Florida. 2 FRAMPTON, Kenneth (1980) Modern Architecture: over the country. If the Slice House in a Critical History, New York: Thames & Hudson Porto­Alegre (see 205) does not seem very 3 ANDREOLI, Elisabetta; FORTY, Adrian, (2004) Brazil’s Modern Architecture, London: Phaidon, p.8. “paulista”­by its complex form, it has in4 For more on the relationship between the visibility of deed a spatial configuration based on an Brazilian modernism and the military period see LARA, open plan organised by two party walls. In Fernando (2001) “Arquitetura brasileira volta às páginas Belo­Horizonte­the Arquitetos Associados­ das publicações internacionais na década de 90,” in Revista Projeto Design, São Paulo: Arco Editorial, (see  116, 121  –  123) have successfully January 2001, pp.8-9. 5 ZEIN, Ruth Verde, “A arquitetura da Escola adapted components of the celebrated Paulista Brutalista 1953 – 1973”, Tese Doutoral, “paulista” architecture such as the rigPropar: UFRGS, 2009. 6 Worthy of mention are also recent buildings by Alvaro orous geometry of the structural system Siza in Porto Alegre and Christian de Pontzamparc in Rio de and combined them with “carioca” curves Janeiro, plus recent designs by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro for Rio and Herzog & de Meuron for São Paulo. at the terrace of the Burle Marx Education


Brazilian Tectonic Bruno Santa Cecília

The international recognition and the singular character of Brazilian modern architecture can be largely explained by the ability of its architects to adapt the ideas formulated in Europe and the United States to a completely different reality. This adaptation was undoubtedly fundamental and necessary if one considers the gap between the principles spread by the modern vanguards and the effective conditions for producing these architectures in Brazil. It is known that Brazil had a late industrialisation process, that began in the 1930s but strengthened only after World War II 1. Nevertheless, it was in the 1920s that the first modern architects sought to plastic express the universal paradigm of industrial production in their buildings. Therefore, this situation has imposed an obvious contradiction: poorly constructed buildings, very often in an almost craft way, but with purist appearances that tried to simulate a technology that was not yet available in the country. This gap between an ideal construction apparatus and the effective conditions of its realisation in Brazil was not just an inevitable situation, but a cultural and permanent fact that would largely shape the national architectural expression until today2. In the face of these circumstances, some modern architects have taken the direction of a common ground, based on

the relationship between construction knowledge and artistic expression. So one can identify some recurrent and meaningful operative procedures, namely: the emphasis on tectonic expression; the use of structure as the generative feature of the architectural space and the building’s plastic expression; and finally, an intentional oversimplification of construction procedures and technical details. The work of Oscar Niemeyer­, after his self-critical review in 19583, constitutes, in my point of view, another singular way that strives for the definition of architectural space through mainly atectonic compositions having the plastic shape as ultimate goal. First of all, we should retrieve the original meaning of the term “tectonic” and fix the common idea that it is a synonym or an equivalent word for construction. Etymologically,­“tectonic” comes from the Greek word tekton, meaning carpenter or builder4. Through history, the meaning of the term has evolved into a more general notion of building, also incorporating its poetic potential 5. In architecture, it came to denote not only the physical manifestation of the structural components, but also the amplification of their formal presence in relation to all other parties. Therefore, the tectonic character of a building would be expressed by the relationship of mutual interdependence

21 Topic ­Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM), Rio de Janeiro (1953), A. E. Reidy 

between structure and construction, orienting its visible expression or appearance. In opposition, the term “atectonic”­ came to mean the operation whereby a significant interaction between load and support is visually blurred or neglected, like in the late Niemeyer’s­works. As a strategy of architectural composition, the tectonic potential of a building can be fully achieved through the mutual interdependence and harmony between structure, form and construction6. The complete flow of this potential would arise from the displacement of the expressive power of the entire building to its constructive features, looking to amplify its presence in relation to the other parties and to articulate the poetic and cognitive aspects of its substance. Making intentional use of this procedure, some Brazilian architects have produced buildings of great tectonic expression, pursued through the formal prominence and intentional plastic expression placed on bearing or technical elements. In Brazil, this way of solving plastic and technical problems on construction was greatly favoured by the development and dissemination of reinforced concrete technology. Undoubtedly, at the beginning of the last century reinforced concrete construction was by far the most convenient technology for a country that still didn’t have a technologically

developed industry, nor skilled labour7. A large supply of skilled craftsmanship and the low cost of its components allowed Brazilian architects to use reinforced concrete as a plastically expressive building material par excellence. Their preference can be seen in the largescale design of the bearing elements and the extensive use of raw concrete as closing and finishing as well8. To exemplify this assertion, one can pick out the repetition and prominence of the bearing structure that governs the external composition of MAM in Rio de Janeiro­(1953) (see 002), designed by Affonso Eduardo

Conjunto JK, Belo Horizonte (1951 – 1968), O. Niemeyer 

22 Jaú Bus Station (1973), J. B. V. Artigas 

Reidy, or the lack of distinction between structure and enclosures in the residence of architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha in Sao Paulo (1964 – 1966) (see 076). Another feature of reinforced concrete that Brazilian architects know how to explore with excellence was its plasticity. Being casted and moulded on the building site, concrete allows the construction of any form in potential. This feature guaranteed plastic freedom in the design of structural elements that are present so much in the w-shaped columns of Niemeyer’s­JK Building in Belo Horizonte­ (1953) (see 101), as in the beautiful shape of the columns at Jaú Bus Station (1973), designed by Vilanova Artigas (see 099). In addition to these aspects, one can add the monolithic characteristic of the concrete that, fusing the elements commonly identified as pillar-beam-­­ slabclosures, opened up a fruitful and inexhaustible source of plastic and spatial investigation. Oscar Niemeyer­ wittingly learned how to explore this property of the material in atectonic compositions, in which the formal expression of the building overlaps the full manifestation of its structural and constructive logic. A logic that, in projects like the Oca in Ibirapuera­Park in Sao Paulo (1954) (see  069) or the São Francisco­de Assis Church in Pampulha­(1942)(see  109), remains hidden in their built volume.

However, as stated before, the ultimate expression of the tectonic character of a building results from the use of the structure itself as the generator of their architectural space and appearance. So did Niemeyer­in the Cathedral of Brasília­ (1958)  (see 138), whose form derives from the simple act of radial repetition of sixteen concrete columns, connected by an upper compression ring of the same material. In this building, the plastic harmony and mutual interdependence between form, structure and construction contributed to the activation of their full tectonic potential. Although it takes place in many different ways, the work of Brazilian architects share the pursuit for a simplification of the technical solutions and construction

Oca, Ibirapuera Park (1954), O. Niemeyer 

23 Topic Brasília Metropolitan Cathedral (1958 – 1970), O. Niemeyer

details. In my opinion, this procedure comes as a necessary adaptation to specific economic and production conditions in Brazil. The search for such simplification acquires different outlines taken from the individual contributions performed by each architect. In the late work of Oscar Niemeyer,­this concern comes as a strategy to better incorporate the flaws and inaccuracies — ­ inevitable to a predominantly handmade constructive process — ­in the final appearance of the building. In the buildings designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, it manifests itself through the work of rational and rigorous selection of the lesser design that solves a specific architectural problem. In the works of Lina­ Bo Bardi, it can be seen in the pursuit

Casa Rio Bonito (2003), C. Juaçaba 

of maximum dignity through the most humble material means. In the work of Vilanova Artigas this concern is also present in an intentional string concatenation and oversimplification of the constructive operations on the building site. We must also highlight the works of a new generation of young architects seeking the continuation and improvement of Brazilian­modern architectural ideas, some of them presented in this guide. A strict limitation of financial and technological resources requires these architects the permanent quest for inventive constructive solutions. In some of these works, one can perceive a conscious act of organising the constructive phases through a deep understanding of the very nature of the techniques and materials.

24 In others, the structure itself becomes the ultimate architectural expression, sometimes generated through a logic of delicate balance that seems to defy gravity. More than mere plastic and artistic expression, modern Brazilian tectonics demonstrates that the formal freedom that characterises its architecture is indissociable from knowledge that involves the act of building. When we observe the recurrence of this constructive pattern in the work of some of the best Brazilian­ architects, we conclude that their affiliation to this mindset is more than circumstantial. By implication, the existence of a national project acts as common ground to all these architectures. Not only does it intend immediacy, but it is also built continuously; not in large gestures, but through daily practice grounded in technical rigour and a broad knowledge of construction processes. Thus it is unequivocal that the invention of architectural form is actually the invention of its construction.

Ubatuba House (2006 – 2009), A. Bucci

Capela de Santana do Pé do Morro (1979 – 1980), É. Maia and J. Vasconcellos

25 Topic 1 See FAUSTO, Boris, História do Brasil, São Paulo: Edusp, 2003. 2 This thesis is held by Roberto Conduru in his text Tectônica Tropical. See ANDREOLI, Elisabetta; FORTY, Adrian, Brazil’s Modern Architecture, London: Phaidon, 2004. 3 In this text Niemeyer recognises his own mistakes in his past projects and anticipates a new direction desired for his architecture from then on. See NIEMEYER, Oscar, Depoimento, 1958 in XAVIER, Alberto. Depoimento de uma geração­ — ­arquitetura moderna brasileira, São Paulo: Cosac & Naify, 2003. 4 More specifically, the term tectonic means the constructive procedures held by assembly and fitting between parts or objects. This procedure is opposed to another distinct constructive logic, called atectonic or stereotomic. The Greek term “stereotomy” can be defined as the art of accurately dividing and cutting building materials. See FRAMPTON, Kenneth, Studies in tectonic culture, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001. 5 The first poetic connotation of the term “tectonic” appears in the works of Sappho, where the carpenter takes the role of the poet. In that sense, it is revealing the meaning of the term “poesis”, which connotes a revealing action as opposed to “praxis” (theory). Idem. 6 See FRAMPTON, Kenneth, “Rappel à l’ordre, the case for the tectonic” in NESBIT, Kate, Theorising a new agenda for architecture, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. 7 Indeed, to produce reinforcing steel bars and Portland cement, raw materials essential to produce concrete, it was enough to establish basic industries. See MACEDO, Danilo Matoso, Da matéria à invenção: as obras de Oscar Niemeyer em Minas Gerais, 1938 – 1955, Brasília: Câmara dos Deputados, 2008. 8 The exploitation of the plastic potential of construction materials, especially concrete, was advocated by Le Corbusier and gave rise to the term “ architectural brutalism”, characterised by use of materials in their natural aspect, especially concrete, brick and stone.


Regi達o Sudeste

27 Região Sudeste


Minas Gerais Uberlândia

Espírito Santo Belo Horizonte

São Paulo


Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro São Paulo


Rio de Janeiro Anke Tiggemann Pictures by Sérvulo Harris Torres

Situated on a southeastern strip of Brazil’s­ Atlantic coast and facing largely south, Rio de Janeiro is the second biggest city of Brazil and the capital of the identically named federal state. It has got a peculiar silhouette due to its topography, architecture and natural setting: towering mounts, the “morros”, bays and beaches, densely built-up areas­ — ­both highrises and favelas, and lush vegetation represent the Cidade Maravilhosa, the Marvellous City, as Rio is nicknamed. The native inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro­ call themselves “carioca”. The original word “kara’i oka” comes from the indigenous Amerindian language of the Tupi­ people, meaning “white man’s house”. The so-called dwellings of the first Portuguese emerged soon after their second exploratory expedition, led by Captain­ Gaspar Lemos, reached Guanabara­Bay. It is legend that on January­ 1st he caught sight of what he thought was a huge river, so he eventually named it Rio de Janeiro,­ “River of January”. But it was not until 1565 that Estácio de Sá founded the municipality at the Morro do Castelo,­ which he named “São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro”,­in honour of the then King of Portugal, Dom Sebastião. The first settlers were followed by religious priests, who soon began to build churches and cloisters in the architectural style they brought from Europe: Baroque. One well preserved building of this era is the Igreja e Mosteiro de São Bento (1617 – 1800) in the centre of Rio (R. Dom Gerardo, 68). When in 1704 a newly built road connected the city with Minas Gerais,­where large deposits of gold and other precious minerals were detected,

Rio’s importance grew, because it was the seaport from where the gold was shipped to the motherland. In 1763, the city superseded Salvador as seat of government. Rio de Janeiro remained primarily a colonial capital until 1808, when the Portuguese royal family, most of the associated Lisbon nobles and several French expatriates, fleeing from Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal, moved to Rio de Janeiro, the newly declared capital of the Portuguese kingdom. Among the emigrants were several artists and architects who initiated a change of style to Classicism. Pedro I, son of the King who went back to Portugal in the 1820s, declared Brazil an independent Empire and himself as emperor, and Rio de Janeiro became an imperial city in 1822. The booming coffee trade catered for prosperity and demographic growth. This development was partially reversed, when in 1888 slavery in Brazil was abolished and many of the estimated four million slaves that had been imported from Africa moved to the cities. Furthermore in 1889 the emperor was overthrown, Brazil became a republic and Rio de Janeiro’s total population almost doubled in the thirty years between 1870 (275,000  inhabitants) and 1890 (520,000  inhabitants). First favelas rose, temporary dwellings of soldiers back from the war in Canudos,­which spread like weed over the Morro­da Providência. Simultaneously, Rio de Janeiro­became more European: a new avenue, Avenida Central (today: Avenida­Rio Branco) was formed after the example of Baron Haussmann’s­ boulevards in Paris. But Rio’s rough topography never allowed urban planning measures across the whole city, similar

29 Rio de Janeiro


MAC­ — ­Museum de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói (1991), O. Niemeyer

to those layouts in grid patterns of the Spanish colonial city foundations. Until the early years of the 20th century, the city was almost limited to the neighbourhood now known as the historic downtown business district, on the mouth of Guanabara Bay. This gravity began to shift south and west when the first tunnel was built under the mountains, located between Botafogo and the neighbourhood now known as Copacabana. In the 1920s so many new buildings emerged here­ — ­mainly in Art Deco style, like the Copacabana Palace Hotel (1917  –  1923) by Joseph Gire at Avenida Atlântica, 1702­ — ­t hat the district became the most populous of the world within a few years. The revolution of 1930 and the inauguration of Gétulio Vargas as president meant political certainty for the Brazilian republic. The “Estado Novo” paved the way for the new modern style in Brazil, for which the way had been paved by the Semana­de Arte Moderna, the arts festival in São Paulo 1922, Gregori Warchavchik’s Casa Modernista (see  065) from 1927 and Le Corbusier’s stay in 1929. When Lúcio Costa as newly installed director of the Escola Nacional de Belas

Artes of Rio de Janeiro changed the curriculum considerably, he encountered opposition from his established colleagues and was deposed shortly after. But just five years later, in 1935, he prevailed: Gustavo Capanema, minister for education and health, congratulated the official winner of the architectural competion for the new ministry building­ — ­a traditional design­ — ­and on the very same day assigned Lúcio Costa to replan it. The Ministério da Educação e Saúde (MES) (see 003), realised by Costa and his team of young modern architects together

Cristo Redentor at the Corcovado

30 Praça Floriano Peixoto “Cinelândia”

Igreja do Outreiro da Glória

with Le Corbusier, is considered to be the flagship modern building of Brazil.­ Thus Capanema’s­arbitrary act opens the door for modernity. Simultaneously the ABI building, headquarters of the Brasílian­Press Association (see  004) by MMM Roberto­and Oscar Niemeyer’s­first individually executed work, the Obra do Berço­(see 017), were built. After World War  II­ — ­during which Brazil fought against fascism in Italy, commemorated by the Monumento do Pracinhas­ (see 001)­ — ­more social architectural projects came into focus. Affonso­Eduardo­ Reidy built two housing complexes combined with common service areas between 1946 and 1958 in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro,­“Pedregulho” (see 012) in São Cristóvão and the complex in Gavea (see  018). In the same spirit his design for Armando Gonzaga Popular Theatre (1950 – 1954) (see 004) came into being to take culture to the suburbs. Also during the 1950s the main campus of Rio’s Federal University Fundão (see 013) was built by Jorge Moreira on an artificial island, known as Ilha do Fundão. Strictly speaking, a football stadium is no social project and certainly not the most luxurious stadium in the world for its time. But in the case of the Maracanã (see  011), with its former capacity of 200,000 spectators­ — ­a figure equivalent to almost 10 percent of Rio de Janeiro’s­population during the 1950s — ­ and in Brazil, a football-crazy nation, the criterion is different. And another trend was legible in the architectural projects of the 1950s: several established personages had their houses built­ — ­or in the case of the Casa das

Canoas, that Oscar Niemeyer­built and designed for himself­ — ­amidst the impressive surroundings of Rio de Janeiro. For example, Lota de Macedo and Elizabeth Bishop built their residence at Fazenda Samambaia in Petrópolis, while Edmundo­ Cavanellas had his summer residence “Tacaruna”­designed by his friends Oscar Niemeyer­and Roberto Burle Marx in 1954. In 1960 Brasília became the new capital of Brazil and deprived Rio de Janeiro­of political power. The city had to give up its preferred position­  — ­in economic terms­  — ­to São Paulo, and at the same time was discovered by worldwide mass tourism­ — ­an important source of income­for the city, especially during carnival­time­ — ­and the automotive industry. In particular, the latter generated many jobs, allowing Rio’s population and thereby the formation of favelas once more to escalate. Due to its topographic conditions­ — ­the Serra da Carioca, a chain of hills on the end of which towers the Pão de Açúcar, or Sugar Loaf Mountain­ — ­R io de Janeiro­ is bisected naturally into two zones: Zona­Norte and Sul. Huge infrastructural projects during the 1960s and 1970s tried to bridge or tunnel through this segregation. Amongst them, the Aterro­ do Flamengo­(see 001), a land reclamation project, made room for wide avenues that connect Rio’s city centre with Copacabana­and besides left huge open spaces for leisure­and­ — ­at the Northern end­ —MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro), by Affonso Eduardo Reidy (see 002). The material for the landfill­ —­ 1,200,000 cubic metres of ground­ — ­c ame from the elimination of Morro de Santo­

31 BCMF (see 015) was already built in 2007 for the Pan-American­Games, on the basis that a similar competition venue would be used for the Olympic Games, including the shooting, equestrian, archery, hockey and modern pentathlon facilities. Two years earlier, in 2014, the Maracanã Stadium will have a field day, when it will host Brazil’s FIFA World Cup final on July 14. And we’ve come full circle, because Rio de Janeiro is currently getting back to its roots. Since 2010, it has been reviving­its harbour by a large city development project called Porto Maravilha.­The measures among others encompass the new construction of two new museums: the MAR, the Museu de Arte do Rio (see 008), which was accomplished by Bernardes +  Jacobsen Arquitetura in 2013, and the Museu do Amanhã, which has still to be built. Both of them, and all the buildings­ and infrastructure projects still to come, will transform the city considerably and­ — ­in respect of the ongoing pacification of the favelas­ — ­hopefully deeply.

Palácio Gustavo Capanema (1936 – 1945), various architects

Rio de Janeiro

Antônio. In the flattened area in the very heart of the city, the Centro,­arose the tremendous conic section of the Catedral­ Metropolitana­(1964 – 1976) by Edgar de Oliveira da Fonseca­(Avenida República­ do Chile) and several administrative buildings, among them the Headquarters of Petrobrás­(see 005). As a matter of fact, the 1964 military coup disrupted Brazil’s modern movement and only with the end of the military dictatorship in 1985­ — ­and with the improvement of the economic situation in the early 1990s­ — ­did the land see a new boost. In 1983 – 1984 the parade of the Samba schools, centrepiece of the famous Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, got a new home: the Sambódromo (see 010) by Oscar Niemeyer­, who had just come back from exile. Since its renovation in 2012, it counts amongst the first venues of the 2016 Olympic Games­ — ­the Sambódromo will play host to the archery events and the start and finish of the marathon­ — ­to open to the public. The National Shooting Centre by


32 Rio de Janeiro: In view are the landmarks Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf Mountain.


Rio de Janeiro



Aterro do Flamengo

001 C

Av. Infante D. Henrique, 75 Various architects 1954 – 1965 Between 1950 and 1960 the population density in some parts of Rio de Janeiro­increased so dramatically that the city’s expansion led to almost unbridgeable distances between favelas and newly­built high-rise blocks in the south on one hand and the city centre on the other. In this situation the Flamengo land reclamation project­ — ­a part of a series of initiatives­ — ­aimed to save the road network from collapse while linking the centre with Copacabana by expressways, and at the same time to create high-quality leisure areas in the very heart of the city. Consequently the Aterro do Flamengo (“aterro” is Portuguese for landfill)­ — ­an area the size of 1,200,000 square metres between Santos Dumont Airport and the inlet of Botafogo­ — ­involves all aspects of public life like arts (Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, MAM ∕ RJ), civic society (National Monument to the Dead of World War II), nature (a 1,500-metre-long

artificial beach, the existing Salgado Filho­Square, gardens, flower pavilions, aquarium), literature (a library), sports (playgrounds, a strip for model aircraft and a tank for model boats) and leisure in general (playgrounds, picnic areas, a gazebo and puppet theatre). A group of people worked for the Department of Urban Planning of the Municipal Authority of Rio de Janeiro­on this vast project: Affonso­Eduardo Reidy and Macedo did the urban design, Roberto Burle Marx was responsible for the landscaping projects, Jorge Moreira designed the restaurant, graphic designer Alexandre Wollner did the visual appearance and Richard Kelly the illumination. In 1960, after several years of planning, the radical landfill let the beach of Flamengo almost disappear beneath tons of earth­ — ­ material that was taken from razing the hill of Santo­ Antônio. The expressway Avenida Infante Dom Henrique was built right at its western edge, seperating the seven kilometre-long Flamengo Park from the city’s buildings. Three underground passages and five overhead­walkways were built to give access to the beaches and parks. In addition, on Sundays and holidays a

35 Rio de Janeiro

1 part of Avenida Infante­Dom Henrique is closed to traffic and cariocas­descend in droves upon the leisure zones. The Aterro­and the Flamengo­park are among Reidy’s­major achievements within the city. He not only conceived the project as a whole but was also responsible for the design of the MAM ∕ RJ, for the overhead walkway in front of the museum, a bandstand and for the games pavilion. The Flamengo Aterro­complex in turn contains some of Burle Marx’s most important landscaping projects. The Salgado­ Filho Square, one of his first landscaping projects, stands out due to its combination of various natural­species,­the conception of the ground which mixes stone and lawn and the sinuous stone bench that accompanies the flower beds. The gardens around the MAM ∕ RJ have another profile: a rectangular outline, straight lines and orthogonal flower beds.

Monumento aos Pracinhas Almost 10,000 square metres of the Aterro­do Flamengo are covered by the Monument to the Dead of World War  II, also­known as Monumento aos Pracinhas, located in the Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes

park. The architects Hélio Ribas Marinho and Marco Konder Netto won the national competion with their design of a L-shaped building on three levels, which holds several artworks honouring the servicemen­ and their relatives. A monumental staircase leads onto a platform,­where the Monumental­ Arch­  — ­t wo 31-metre ­-high­ pillars holding a 220-square-­ metre plaque  — ­ spans the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Furthermore a metal sculpture by Júlio Catelli­Filho­for the Brazilian­air force, and a granite sculpture by Alfredo­Ceschiatti,­which unites the personnel of Brazil’s land, sea, and air forces, are placed here. On the ground floor, on the stair landing, three hugh panels by the painter Anísio Araújo­de Meideros­can be found: one fresco inside the museum­  — ­where additionally­ photographs, trophies and arms are displayed­ — ­and two ceramic panels outside, honouring the navy and the merchant marine. An internal garden symbolises the war theatre in Italy, and an artificial lake, stepped into four areas of water, illuminates and cools the underground­ mausoleum, where 468 grave, hold the remains of the dead soldiers.


MAM — ­Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro Av. Infante D. Henrique, 75 Affonso Eduardo Reidy 1953 – 1967; 2006 (theatre)

002 C

In this building, the relationship between architecture and the natural landscape was a question of major importance due to its privileged location. The Museum is located at Flamengo landfill, close to the old downtown and facing the sea and the mountains. However this is not a building that establishes a bucolic relationship­with the place, rather consolidates it aspart of the city. It is

an architecture placed in contrast to the natural landscape, thus enhancing it. But at the same time Reidy was careful to prevent the building disturbing the scenery and conflicting with nature, which follows the horizontality of the architectural parti adopted in opposition to the mountainous skyline. The hollow structure and the extensive use of clear glass as closing help to not interrupt the continuity of the natural scenery. The rise of the building on pilotis promotes a desirable continuity of public space under it and at the same time clears the view to the sea. For its part, the museum has large glass closings from floor to ceiling

37 Rio de Janeiro


that visually reconnect the exhibition spaces with the surrounding landscape. The natural light also contributes to the fruition of artworks in two different ways: the zenithal openings of the roof slab provide a diffuse and uniform light with soft shadows, and on the other hand the lateral windows create a directional lighting with sharp shadows so that the visitor can enjoy the beautiful view. What stands out in this building­is the size and rhythmic repetition of the main structure. It consists of a series of wshaped parallel reinforced concrete porticoes that support the solid slab of the first floors. In turn, the slabs of the roof and the second level are hanged on transversal beams by steel cables. Reidy had already adopted a very similar overall formal

solution in the design of the classes’­pavilion of the Brazil-Paraguay Experimental College, built in 1952 in Asunción. In addition to the main exhibition pavilion, the museum programme is housed in the independent volumes of the classrooms and the theatre, which only came to be built in 2006. The late construction of the theatre was the subject of controversy among architects and preservationists because it did not respect the original design. But while it is true that the new block has not maintained even plastic rigour and technical detailing and construction, the casual observer does not perceive the adulterated elements. TUE–FRI, 12:00–6:00PM; SAT, SUN and holidays, 12:00–7:00PM


Palácio Gustavo Capanema (former Ministério da Educação e Saúde­ — MES) R. da Imprensa, 16 Various architects 1936 – 1945

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Born out of several polemics regarding the outcome of its competition, the building of the Ministry of Education and Health also carries some controversy visà-vis its label as the “first big modern building” in Brazil. The architectural competition for the MES, held by the Minister Gustavo Capanema, was won by the architect and Professor Archimedes Memória. He won the prize, but his work was never executed. Dissatisfied with the outcome of the bidding, the Minister asked the permission of President Getúlio Vargas to call upon the architect Lúcio Costa to carry out Capanema’s Ministry project. This architect teamed up with his colleagues­

Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Carlos­Leão, Ernani­ Vasconcelos and Oscar Niemeyer­ . However, still unsatisfied with the project, Lúcio­Costa suggested Capanema­to consult the famous architect Le Corbusier.­ On his first sketches, Le  Corbusier despised the parcel of land made available by the Ministry. He drew a building to be located on a plot at the bay side, idealising it as a flagship project of the city of Rio. After Le Corbusier left Brazil, the team changed his design completely, making a new proposal on the plot originally chosen. The final design articulated some elements of LC’s proposal, but the scale, plastic composition and urban articulation were completely different. The executed project is placed in the centre of its parcel. It has large pilotis, which allow high visibility, as well as the possibility of crossing the plot. The 14-storey building is completely detached from the ground, rendering its physical presence


ABI­  — ­A ssociação Brasileira de Imprensa R. Araújo Porto Alegre, 71 MMM Roberto 1936 – 1943

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Contemporaneous with the Ministério de Educação e Saúde, the ABI, the headquarters of the Brazilian Press Association, was constructed between 1936 and 1939. The brothers Marcelo and Milton Roberto prevailed in the competition, organised by Herbert Moses, the journalist and ABI president in 1936 and last but not least the eponym of the building (Edifício­Herbert­Moses), with their design of a pure, monochromatic, consistent block. More precisely the building consists of four parts: first the groundfloor raised on pilotis between whose one and a half storeys, curved walls indicate the entrance. Secondly, the seven-storey­

Rio de Janeiro

strongly marked by its verticalisation. The tower is crossed from below by another volume which houses the reception, the auditorium and the exhibition hall. The ground floor and roof gardens were designed by the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, who employed specimens of Brazilian flora in the project, an approach he had pursued previously during several projects for Luiz Nunes in Recife. Aiming at reaching great thermal comfort, the use of two elements stands out: the pilotis and the brise-soleils. In this project, and within modern Brazilian architecture, the influence of sculpture is very pronounced. Several other contemporary projects follow this same sort of influence.


high central part with offices and library. This part is discernible from outside because of seven rows of continuous windows, completely hidden behind fixed vertical concrete brise-soleils (the first ever used in a vertical modern building). Third is the­  — ­almost­  — ­w indowless ninth and tenth floor. And fourth is the eleventh and twelfth floor with lounge and restaurant, set back and thus almost not visible. One architectural element breaks the orderly, mainly horizontal appearance of the building: a large square window, split into nine further squares, which is located in the centre of the otherwise windowless part of the northern façade. Not only its form, but also its completion is unique, because it features no solar protection but permits direct sunlight to enter the two-storey foyer and exhibition space in front of the Auditório Oscar Guanabarino.­


Petrobrás Headquarters

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Jockey Club do Brasil

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Av. República do Chile, 65 Various architects 1969 – 1973

Av. Nilo Peçanha, 11 Lúcio Costa 1954 – 1955

The headquarters of Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobrás, for short), the semipublic­Brazilian multinational energy corporation, is located in Rio’s Centro, the downtown business district, directly opposite the modern Metropolitan Cathedral. Roberto Luiz Gandolfi, José Hermeto­ Sanchotene, Abrão Anis Assad, Luiz Forte Netto, Vicente Ferreura de Castro Neto­ and José Maria Gandolfi designed the 108-metre, 29-storey office building with a floor area of 120,000 square metres. Its blocky appearance­ — ­with cubical recesses, building balconies through which the building’s supporting structure continues­ — ­ is distinctively Brutalist in style. The closed parts of the façades are clad with metal brise-soleils, whereas the roofing of the entrance area and the roof crown display concrete reliefs with iterative geometrical forms. The office of the company president is an expansive corner space on the 23rd floor that opens up to a balcony with views of the city’s most famous landmarks: Guanabara Bay, Sugar­ Loaf Mountain, and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. Three floors of the building lie underneath a difference in levels of the terrain, which is covered by a garden designed by Roberto Burle Marx.

Located in the central area of Rio de Janeiro,­this building consists of a single volume that occupies an entire urban block. Built to house the social seat of the Brazilian Jockey Club, its sobriety and almost anonymous character hides an extensive and complex functional programme that includes retail stores at street level, 363 office rooms for rental, parking for 785  vehicles and even sports facilities. Despite being a single volume, in practice it functions as three separate buildings, each with independent access from one of the streets. The seat of the Jockey Club occupies the main façade of Av. Nilo Peçanha plus a rooftop terrace, while the office premises occupy the other three sides of the building. However, what makes this building unique is an atypical arrangement of the car park occupying the building’s central core. The car park consists of a 13-storey fully independent building of steel structure, which was the first application of Brazilian technology in steel construction of this magnitude. By wrapping the parking floors with the office blocks, Lúcio Costa met the need to verticalise the garages without having recourse to underground construction, a much more expensive solution due


Banco Boavista

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to the superficial height of the water table in central Rio de Janeiro.­Through this solution the architect also achieved a higher formal integrity and a greater plastic control of the façade’s composition, without resorting to epidermic solutions. Jorge Hue did the interior design and Roberto Burle Marx designed the gardens.

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Pça. Pio X, 118 Oscar Niemeyer 1946 – 1948 Niemeyer­’s building for the headquarters of Banco Boavista in Rio de Janeiro­city centre blends into the surrounding development of Candelária Cathedral with its fully-glazed southern façade and the ground floor relegated behind a colonnade. Only in the side street, the Rua da Quitanda, does the curvilinear curtain of glass bricks come into focus, meandering between the pilotis and illuminating the interior of the building. The façade above is segmented into a square concrete grid with vertical brise-soleils made out of plywood. The rear façade features horizontal concrete brise-soleils, quite similar to those at the MES, but the most conspicuous­element is the mosaic panel on the pedestal by Brazilian muralist and

illustrator­Paulo­Werneck (1907 – 1987). The autodidact Werneck introduced the mosaic technique to Brazil and worked for several­ architects­  — ­beside Oscar Niemeyer­ , who engaged him to do the mosaic on the roof of the Igreja de São Francisco­de Assis­in Pampulha­(see 111), also for the Roberto­Brothers. Inside Banco­Boavista is the painting “A primeira­ missa no Brasil” by Candido­Portinari, painted in 1948, the year of the bank’s inauguration. Since 1992, the building has been listed as cultural­heritage.


MAR­ — ­Museu de Arte do Rio

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Pça. Mauá Bernardes + Jacobsen Arquitetura 2010 – 2013 Actually this 11,240 square metres project in the historic downtown of Rio de Janeiro­unites two functions­ — ­ the Art Museum of Rio and the Escola do Olhar,­ the “School for Looking”. Two existing buildings with very different architectures were converted: the Palacete Dom João VI (built in 1916 in an eclectic manner) and a building from 1940, formerly housing Rio’s old central bus station on the ground-floor and a police hospital on the floors above. The museum is placed in the Palacete with its high ceilings and open floor plan, the school­ — ­plus auditoria and multimedia exhibition areas­ — ­in the flatter, modernistic building. Both are protected under heritage acts. The main access is in the joint, which remains open onto the fifth floor, where the two buildings are connected by a suspended catwalk. The school’s ground floor, raised on pilotis, serves as a large foyer for the entire complex, and will hold the sculpture exhibition areas. Both buildings, old and new, are visually connected by an exceptional invention of the architects

Paulo Jacobsen, Bernardo Jacobsen and Thiago Bernardes: an abstract roof with undulated surface, simulating waves on water­ — ­the main mark of the project. It shades the newly generated suspended square that provides a bar and an area for cultural events and leisure and that leads to the actual entrance of the MAR. From here the visitor meanders down the exhibition to the exit at street level. Here, any time soon, one will face the Museu do Amanhã, by Santiago Caltrava, at the Mauá Pier. Like the MAR, the Museu do Amanhã­ — ­which will be dedicated to the sciences­ — ­will be one of the cultural anchors of the city development called Porto Maravilha at Rio’s old harbour. TUE–SUN, 10:00AM–5:00PM

Pavilhão de São Cristóvão

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R. Campo de São Cristóvão Sérgio Bernardes 1957 – 1960 Before Riocentro, the exhibition and convention centre in Barra da Tijuca,­was built in the late 1970s, the São Cristóvão­ pavilion was the main site for trade fairs like Salão do Automóvel, Feiras Industriais, and Expositec in Rio de Janeiro.­

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carioca­architect Sérgio Bernardes­designed the pavilion in the late 1950s. With almost 160,000 square metres, it was then one of the biggest covered areas in the world without any pillars. The elliptic outline of the building, a structure made out of reinforced concrete frames filled with bricks, carries a surrounding beam to which steel cables supporting the saddle-shaped roof were anchored. Originally the roof was clad with plastics and provided­a simple refrigeration system designed by Sérgio Bernardes, for which water was pumped onto the highest parts

of the roof’s surface, poured to the lower sides and ended in a waterfall, which emptied over the building’s edge. When in 1988 the roof was blown off in high winds for the second time, the building was closed for several years. In 2003 it reopened to house Feira­de São Cristóvão, also known as Feira­Nordestina,­an arts and crafts market that unites culinary art, typical products, and music from Brazil’s northeastern­states. Sérgio Bernardes’ structure remains unroofed, but the anchors of the steel cables are still visible at the top edge of the elliptic wall.

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Brazil. Architectural Guide  

Brazil, the big B of the BRIC countries, is in high spirits. The current upswing involving booming economic growth and cultural development...

Brazil. Architectural Guide  

Brazil, the big B of the BRIC countries, is in high spirits. The current upswing involving booming economic growth and cultural development...