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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. All The Architecture To See in Rio de Janeiro During the 2016 Olympics

All The Architecture To See in Rio de Janeiro During the 2016 Olympics

All The Architecture To See in Rio de Janeiro During the 2016 Olympics
All The Architecture To See in Rio de Janeiro During the 2016 Olympics, Image created using original image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/over_kind_man/3184875811/'>Flickr user over_kind_man</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Image created using original image © Flickr user over_kind_man licensed under CC BY 2.0

Rio de Janeiro is a city of sights and sounds. As diverse as its people is the collection of impressive architecture found in Brazil’s second most populous city—from Eurocentric historical architecture to 20th century regionalist modern marvels, not to mention the city’s growing crop of contemporary cultural venues. The combination of mountainous terrain, lush rainforest, and the ocean inspires many to create lively and unique architecture.

In preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city has enlisted a crop of internationally renowned architects including Santiago Calatrava, whose work joins Rio's existing masterpieces from architects such as Oscar Niemeyer. But apart from its "Capital A" Architecture, the city of Rio is home to thousands of residents living in the now-famous favelas—interesting subjects of inquiry for those interested in the concept of spontaneous urban growth. There’s a building for just about every architecture fan visiting Rio this year or anytime in the future.

Santa Marta. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/armandolobos/5920954662/'>Flickr user alobos Life</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a> Cidade das Artes. Image © Nelson Kon Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentraal/9136698555/in/photolist-eVo64M-eVo3gR-eVnYar'>Flickr user vincentraal</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Museum of Tomorrow. Image © Bernard Lessa Rio Municipal Theater. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/13084341645/in/photolist-kWfhuy-kWdM16-kWdEVk-kWfo5b'>Flickr user gameoflight</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a> Niterói Contemporary Art Museum. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/13034234305'>Flickr user gameoflight</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a> Maracanã Stadium. Image © Schlaich Bergermann und partner Parque Lage. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/93906643@N08/8552874061/in/dateposted/'>Flickr user Jonas Santin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/>CC BY-NC 2.0</a> Museu de Arte Moderna. ImageImage © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAM_-_Museu_de_Arte_Moderna_do_Rio_de_Janeiro_02.jpg'>Wikimedia user Halley Pacheco de Oliveira</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 20

International Architects

Museum of Tomorrow / Santiago Calatrava

Museum of Tomorrow. Image © Bernard Lessa
Museum of Tomorrow. Image © Bernard Lessa

Built in Calatrava’s signature style, the recently launched museum feels ethereal and features various cutting-edge experimental exhibitions; it is an icon of the modernization of Rio de Janeiro’s harbor.   

Cidade das Artes / Christian Portzamparc

Cidade das Artes. Image © Nelson Kon
Cidade das Artes. Image © Nelson Kon

Located in the city’s developing southwest zone, Portzamparc’s masterpiece is a large cultural complex. A miniature City of Arts, it serves as a venue to multiple performances and exhibits throughout the year, as well as the home of the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra.

MIS Copacabana / Diller + Scofidio

MIS Copacabana. Image © Marcelo Horn / GOVERJ
MIS Copacabana. Image © Marcelo Horn / GOVERJ

Set to open later in 2016, the new headquarters of the Museum of Image and Sound aims to represent Rio de Janeiro’s Carioca culture through lively and stimulating exhibits. The building’s design aims to reproduce the experience of Copacabana’s famous boardwalk.   

20th Century Modernism

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum—MAC / Oscar Niemeyer

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/13034234305'>Flickr user gameoflight</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum. ImageImage © Flickr user gameoflight licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The iconic saucer-shaped structure not only frames views of Rio de Janeiro but also provides a column-free exhibition space for contemporary art.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian / Edgar Fonceca

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/vincentraal/9136698555/in/photolist-eVo64M-eVo3gR-eVnYar'>Flickr user vincentraal</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>
Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian. ImageImage © Flickr user vincentraal licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Also dubbed as the New Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, the conically-shaped structure is Edgar Fonceca’s interpretation of Mayan architecture which he has combined with traditional Catholic architecture through the dominant presence of stained glass in the interior.

Ministry of Education and Health Building / Lucio Costa 

Ministry of Health and Education Building. ImageImage public domain via Wikimedia
Ministry of Health and Education Building. ImageImage public domain via Wikimedia

Known alternatively as Palacio Gustavo Capanema, this office tower is one of Brazil’s most iconic representation of the International Style. The building's design credits read like a who's who of Brazilian Modernism, designed by Costa with help from a team of young architects which included Oscar Niemeyer alongside Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Carlos Leão, Jorge Moreira, and Ernani Vasconcellos. This team was assisted by none other than Le Corbusier, while the building’s impressive roof top gardens were designed by Roberto Burle Max.

Museo De Arte Moderna / Affonzo Eduardo Reidy

Museu de Arte Moderna. ImageImage © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MAM_-_Museu_de_Arte_Moderna_do_Rio_de_Janeiro_02.jpg'>Wikimedia user Halley Pacheco de Oliveira</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>
Museu de Arte Moderna. ImageImage © Wikimedia user Halley Pacheco de Oliveira licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Affonzo Reidy’s design is one of the most beautiful examples of Modernism’s sculptural potential. The museum is located within Rio’s largest public space: Flamengo Park.

Parque Eduardo Guinle / Lucio Costa

Parque Eduardo Guinle. Image © Nelson Kon
Parque Eduardo Guinle. Image © Nelson Kon

In 1943, Lucio Costa transformed the site of Parque Eduardo Guinle by building 6 residential towers. This is a prime example of Modernist architecture’s utopian aspirations in Brazil.   

Historic Architecture

The Royal Portugese Cabinet of Reading / Rafael da Silva e Castra

Royal Portugese Cabinet of Reading. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/13147949963'>Flickr user gameoflight</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
Royal Portugese Cabinet of Reading. ImageImage © Flickr user gameoflight licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Appearing like a cathedral filled with books, the 19th century building houses books which began as a private collection by three Portuguese immigrants. The library now contains largest collection of Portuguese works outside of Portugal.  

Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theater / Francisco de Oliveira Passos

Rio Municipal Theater. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/13084341645/in/photolist-kWfhuy-kWdM16-kWdEVk-kWfo5b'>Flickr user gameoflight</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-SA 2.0</a>
Rio Municipal Theater. ImageImage © Flickr user gameoflight licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Theatro Municipal is one of the most important and beautiful theaters in Brazil. The Paris Opera look-a-like is located in Rio’s city center and houses ballet performances and classical music concerts.  

Parque Lage / Mario Vodrel

Parque Lage. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/93906643@N08/8552874061/in/dateposted/'>Flickr user Jonas Santin</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/>CC BY-NC 2.0</a>
Parque Lage. ImageImage © Flickr user Jonas Santin licensed under

Once the private home of industrialist Enrique Lague, the site is now a public park with walking trails through subtropical forest. In 2015, the artists Penny Duo transformed the site by placing an inflatable orange tarp that covered the building’s entire pool area.

Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro

Old Cathedral of Rio. ImageImage © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Igreja_de_Nossa_Senhora_do_Carmo_da_Antiga_S%C3%A9_-_Interior_02.jpg'>Wikimedia user Halley Pacheco de Oliveira</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a>
Old Cathedral of Rio. ImageImage © Wikimedia user Halley Pacheco de Oliveira licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Before it was replaced by the New Cathedral of Rio in 1976, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte do Carmo was the seat of the Archdiocese of San Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro. It features stunning Rococo-style ornamentation.

Everyday Architecture

Santa Marta Favela

Santa Marta. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/armandolobos/5920954662/'>Flickr user alobos Life</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
Santa Marta. ImageImage © Flickr user alobos Life licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Santa Marta Favela is located in the Botafogo district of Rio de Janeiro and is home to some 8000 residents. In 2011, the Praça Cantão square of the favela underwent a colorful transformation through the Favela Painting Foundation of artist duo Haas and Hahn.

Teleferico do Complexo do Alemão / Jorge Mario Juaregui

Teleferico do Complexo do Alemão. ImageImage © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/pacgov/5974151055'>Flickr user pacgov</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a>
Teleferico do Complexo do Alemão. ImageImage © Flickr user pacgov licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This cable car ride is composed of 7 stations and is taken by everyday commuters as it connects to the city’s railway network; the 45 minute ride provides a view of Rio de Janeiro’s various residential areas.

Contemporary Architecture

Rio Art Museum (MAR) / Bernardes + Jacobson Arquitetura

Rio Art Museum. Image © Leonardo Finotti
Rio Art Museum. Image © Leonardo Finotti

The MAR is a large complex which contains not only a museum but also a school and leisurely cultural spaces. The 2013 construction of the museum required the unification and re-purposing of three pre-existing buildings: the Palacete Dom João, the police building and the old central bus station of Rio as one cohesive complex.

Uruguai Station / JBMC Architects

Uruguai Station. Image © Nelson Kon
Uruguai Station. Image © Nelson Kon

This station used to be an old parking area for trains known as “Rabicho da Tijuca” before it was renovated to become part of the metro’s Line 1 extension. JBMC Architects were also responsible for the Cidade Nova Metro Station and Footbridge.

Homeless World Cup Legacy Center / Lompreta Nolte Arquitetos + Architecture For Humanity + Nanda Eskes Arquitetura

Homeless World Cup Legacy Center. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Homeless World Cup Legacy Center. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

After the 2010 Homeless World Cup, the structure from this multi-team collaboration, which also included Nike and Bola par Frente, has been re-purposed as a community and cultural center using football and play as a tool for empowerment in the underprivileged neighborhood of Santa Cruz.  

Capela Joá / Bernardes Arquitetura

Capela Joá. Image © Tuca Reines
Capela Joá. Image © Tuca Reines

This contemporary chapel literally hangs off a cliff and is a reconceptualization of church architecture; the traditional gable form of religious Christian buildings has been inverted from sectional to plan view.

Maracanã Stadium / Schlaich Bergermann und Partner

Maracanã Stadium. Image © Schlaich Bergermann und partner
Maracanã Stadium. Image © Schlaich Bergermann und partner

The Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics are being held in this stadium, which adds to the long list of prestigious sporting events that the Maracanã stadium has hosted since its construction in 1950. A beautiful new roof structure was designed by schlaich bergermann und partner in 2013.

About this author
Jan Doroteo
Author
Cite: Jan Doroteo. "All The Architecture To See in Rio de Janeiro During the 2016 Olympics" 05 Aug 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/792656/city-guide-all-the-architecture-to-see-in-rio-de-janeiro-during-the-2016-olympics/> ISSN 0719-8884
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Image created using original image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/over_kind_man/3184875811/'>Flickr user over_kind_man</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>

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