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AD Classics: National Congress / Oscar Niemeyer

Located at the head of the abstract bird-shaped city plan by Lúcio Costa, and as the only building within the central greensward of the eastern arm of the Monumental Axis, the palace of the National Congress (Congresso Nacional) enjoys pride of place among Oscar Niemeyer’s government buildings in Brasília. The most sober of the palaces on the Plaza of the Three Powers, the National Congress reflects the strong influence of Le Corbusier, while hinting at the more romantic and whimsical forms that characterize Niemeyer’s trademark Brazilian Modernism.

Spotlight: Lúcio Costa

Lúcio Costa. Image via ImageLúcio Costa
Lúcio Costa. Image via ImageLúcio Costa

Brazilian planner, preservationist and modernist thinker Lucio Costa  (27 Feburary 1902 - 13 June 1998) is best known for his 1957 plan of Brasília that shaped the Brazilian capital into a monument to utopian modernism. A resolute and often controversial figure in the Brazilian establishment, Costa’s contributions to Brazilian architecture helped to shape the distinctive modernism that was practically Brazil’s official style until the 1980s.

The original pilot plan. Image Courtesy of O Espaço Lúcio Costa © Imagens AMB The monumental axis central to Costa's plan. Image © Limongi The Asa Sul district of Brasília. Image Courtesy of Portal da Copa

AD Classics: Maison du Bresil / Le Corbusier

© Samuel Ludwig
© Samuel Ludwig

Created as a microcosm of Brazilian life and culture, Maison du Bresil is a significant example of Le Corbusier’s high-density residential design. Inaugurated in 1959, it is one of twenty-three international residences at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, located in the heart of Paris. As the “House of Brazil”, the building acts as both a residence hall for Brazilian academics, students, teachers, and artists, and as a hub for Brazilian culture, by providing exhibition spaces and archival resources. Notably, the building has provided residence to famous Brazilians, such as the renowned journalist Barroso Zózimo do Amaral.

© Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig © Samuel Ludwig

In Niemeyer and Costa Masks, Architects Protest the City of Brasilia

Wearing masks with the faces of Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa, architects and urban planners swarmed the 50th Annual IAB (Institute of Architects of Brazil) Awards in Rio de Janeiro this week. The architects were protesting a contract the city government of Brasilia struck with a Singaporean firm to create an urban masterplan outlining the next 50 years of Brasilia's future.

Venice Biennale 2012: StudioMK27 represents Brazil with "Peep"

Representing Brazil at the 2012 Venice Biennale will be StudioMK27 and Lúcio Costa‘s 1964 installation “Riposatevi”.  The exhibit takes an intimate look at the lives of multi-generational households in modern Brazilian architecture.  Curated by Lauro Cavalcanti, the Brazilian pavilion will investigate the intersections between traditional and contemporary artistic tendencies and will feature the movie installation, “Peep”, by Lea Van Steen and Marcio Kogan, with photography by Cleisson Vidal.  The event will take place between August 29th and November 25th in the Giardini and Arsenale buildings in Venice.

More after the break.