When I was student in New York City, I would often spend hours thumbing through the titles of books at the Strand Bookstore. One day I came across Latin American Architecture Since 1945. The black and white book, written by Henry-Russell Hitchcock in 1955, showed a world of precise modernism. The buildings, situated in a tropical climate, set atop pilotis with gardens flowing in and under them, with brise soleils filtering the strong equatorial light, were perfect. I often would stare into the pages and attempt to create similar projects on my drafting board.
Fifteen years later, on a journey to Brazil, I sought out the projects that were indelibly written into my memory. I expected, or hoped, to find them as they were on the pages. But what I found instead are buildings that are used and worn, showing age like the yellowing pages of the book itself. Despite this, the buildings were very much alive. Children were kicking a ball around in the housing bar and patients were still healing in Neimeyer’s hospital. These projects were not the crisp sun drenched modernism of my imagination, but they exceeded my expectation with an unexpected vibrance.
Architects: FGMF Arquitetos
Location: São Paulo, Brasil
Authors: Fernando Forte, Lourenço Gimenes, Rodrigo Marcondes Ferraz
Collaborators: Ana Paula Barbosa, Marilia Caetano, Sonia Gouveia
Project Architects: Carolina Matsumoto, Juliana Fernandes, Raquel Engelsman
Interns: Felipe Bueno, Gabriel Mota, Gabriela Eberhardt, Patrícia Kupper, Rodrigo de Moura
Area: 275.0 m2
Photographs: Rafaela Netto
Keep an eye out, or you might miss the Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (a.k.a. MuBE, pronounced MOO-bee). Widely considered the masterpiece of Pritzker Prize-winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the building was in fact born out of the desire to have no building at all. When in the 1980s an empty lot in Sao Paulo’s mansion-laden Jardins district was slated to become a shopping mall, wealthy residents successfully lobbied to create a public square instead. To sweeten the deal and ensure the land stayed commercial-free, they hired Mendes de Rocha to create MuBE. Completed in 1995, the 7000-sq-meter museum hunkers down beneath ground level, thus preserving what in Sao Paulo is that rarest of luxuries: a public green space.
In this article, which originally appeared on AIArchitect, Sara Fernández Cendón discusses the opportunities and challenges for US architects who are taking advantage of Brazil’s infrastructure development boom, particularly in the wake of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Until Brazil was selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, only three countries had hosted both events back-to-back. Successful bids for either event are usually equal parts proof that the country already has what it takes and a promise that it will do whatever else necessary to make things run smoothly.
In Brazil’s case, the “promise” part has generated a handful of projects for architectural firms around the world; Populous is responsible for conceptual design a stadium in the city of Natal, for example. And some observers believe that World Cup building delays could generate a rush of last-minute opportunities for foreign construction professionals. But even if these two headline-grabbing events haven’t been fully planned and designed by foreigners new to Brazil, the country is evolving into an emerging market for American architects, built on its intense thirst for upgraded commercial and transit infrastructure.
Night photographs of the Brazilian capital created by architectural photographer Andrew Prokos are among this year’s winners at the International Photography Awards competition. Entitled “Niemeyer’s Brasilia” the series of photographs capture the surreal architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, who shaped the Brazilian capital for over 50 years.
More fantastic photographs and information on the awards after the break.
Dutch duo Haas and Hahn gained fame in 2005 for painting a few houses of Rio Janeiro’s favelas in a palate of bright hues. Now they’re back again, this time with a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the funds to paint the rest of the favela in the hopes of further transforming this crime-ridden community.
Rio de Janeiro has become one of the most popular destinations right now, hosting some games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Joe Capra shared with us this timelapse video he made on the Brazilian city. Besides the fantastic natural settings that surround the city, you can also see the contrast with a few shots of the popular favelas.
Designed by Buro AD and SPECTACLE for this year’s CityVision Competition, their Rio de Inverso proposal critically addresses the historically cyclical attempts by urban planners to impose order post ex-facto on Rio de Janeiro’s informally created, complex and spatially rich urban fabric. With the theme of the competition ‘sick and wonder (wonder and disgust),’ the architects demonstrate how the city was the arena for a continuous struggle. More images and architects’ description after the break.