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Iconic Columns in Modern Brazilian Architecture

  • 06:00 - 24 November, 2018
  • by
  • Translated by Fernanda Cavallaro
Iconic Columns in Modern Brazilian Architecture
Iconic Columns in Modern Brazilian Architecture, © Joana França. Image Palácio da Alvorada
© Joana França. Image Palácio da Alvorada

Of Le Corbusier's five points of modern architecture (the ribbon window, free design of the façade and ground plan, a roof garden, and pilotis), pilotis are perhaps the most used element in Brazilian modern architecture.

Independently of typology or scale, from the 1940s onward Brazilian architects began to add sophistication to buildings’ structures. Architects Oscar Niemeyer, João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, and Affonso Eduardo Reidy conceived true works of art from the aesthetical, visual and technical-structural point of view.

Oscar Niemeyer

Of the renowned group of architects who settled in Rio de Janeiro and grew to international fame in the 1940s and 1950s, perhaps Oscar Niemeyer developed the greatest number of structural experiments. Slim, bold, sometimes gravity-defying and innovative, Niemeyer's columns highlighted his genius and, particularly, his experimental labs.

Elegantly settling on the ground, the pilotis of the Palácio da Alvorada, Palácio do Planalto, Supreme Court of Brasília, Cathedral of Brasília, Itamaraty and Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome surprise the viewer by uniting aesthetics and structural solutions.

Palácio da Alvorada

© Joana França. Image Palácio da Alvorada
© Joana França. Image Palácio da Alvorada

Cathedral of Brasília

<a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gtavares/2772685312/in/album-72157606698490651/'>© via Flickr Gabriel Tavares </a> License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Image Cathedral of Brasília
© via Flickr Gabriel Tavares License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Image Cathedral of Brasília

Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church

<a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/125583104@N04/14478056634/in/photolist-o4nPQ7-nLZFNj-nLZFCj-o4tWWk-nM1mAi-nLZomX'>© via Flickr Mercado viagens</a> License CC BY 2.0. Image Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church
© via Flickr Mercado viagens License CC BY 2.0. Image Nossa Senhora de Fátima Church

Marquise do Ibirapuera

© Pedro Kok. Image Maquise and Pavilion Ciccillo Matarazzo
© Pedro Kok. Image Maquise and Pavilion Ciccillo Matarazzo

Palace Of Nations

© Matheus Pereira. Image Palácio das Nações
© Matheus Pereira. Image Palácio das Nações

Palácio da Agricultura / MAC USP

© Manuel Sá. Image Palácio da Agricultura Contemporary Art Museum
© Manuel Sá. Image Palácio da Agricultura Contemporary Art Museum

João Batista Vilanova Artigas

With a design process that has a strong structural research base, the pilotis designed by João Batista Vilanova Artigas lets go of the strict structural function to become sculptural pieces. The magic within the design allows for the addition of elements previously considered contradictory in architecture, such as incorporating light through the design of the columns. In the case with Jaú Bus Station, it opens up in four sections, allowing light to enter through the ceiling.

Considered a manifesto in engineering-architectural production, this institutional work is both educational and cultural. It rigorously synthesizes the structural production of pilotis, revealing the magnificence of Vilanova Artigas's studies in parallel to the design concept of the place.

Architecture and Urbanism College - University of Sao Paulo (FAU USP)

© Via flickr Fernando Stankuns. Image FAU USP
© Via flickr Fernando Stankuns. Image FAU USP
Section. FAU USP. Image
Section. FAU USP. Image

Jaú Bus Station

© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Section - Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Section - Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Section - Jaú Bus Station
© via Arquitetura Brutalista, FAU-Mackenzie. Image Section - Jaú Bus Station

Itanhaém Public School

© Photo Archive of the Vilanova Artigas Foundation. Image Itanhaém Public School
© Photo Archive of the Vilanova Artigas Foundation. Image Itanhaém Public School
© Photo Archive of the Vilanova Artigas Foundation. Image Croquis - Itanhaém Public School
© Photo Archive of the Vilanova Artigas Foundation. Image Croquis - Itanhaém Public School

Guarulhos School

© José Moscardi via Acervo Vilanova Artigas. Image Guarulhos School
© José Moscardi via Acervo Vilanova Artigas. Image Guarulhos School
© via Acervo Vilanova Artigas. Image Pilotis detail - Guarulhos School
© via Acervo Vilanova Artigas. Image Pilotis detail - Guarulhos School

Paulo Mendes da Rocha

With internationally renowned works due to their structural and functional solutions, the pilotis are, at times, the key in Paulo Mendes da Rocha's designs. For instance, the Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka, a broad marquee of 50 meters in length and 32.5 meters wide, hovers over just four supports built elegantly on sloping topography. The same with Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex, where six concrete pilotis, each 12.5 meters high, were placed in a circle to support the ring-shaped marquee.

Other works that feature this production: Poupatempo Itaquera, Brazilian Sculpture Museum (MuBE), Patriarca Square, Gerassi House, among many others.

Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex

© Courtesy of Relae Design. ImageGinásio do Clube Atlético Paulistano
© Courtesy of Relae Design. ImageGinásio do Clube Atlético Paulistano
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Croquis - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Croquis - Clube Atlético Paulistano Sports Complex

Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka

© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Courtesy of Ruth Verde Zein. Image Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Courtesy of Ruth Verde Zein. Image Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Section - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Croquis - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka
© Paulo Mendes da Rocha Archive. Image Croquis - Brazilian Pavilion in Osaka

Headquarters of Goiás Jockey Club

© Lucas Jordano . Image Headquarters of Goiás Joqckey Club
© Lucas Jordano . Image Headquarters of Goiás Joqckey Club
© Lucas Jordano . Image Headquarters of Goiás Joqckey Club
© Lucas Jordano . Image Headquarters of Goiás Joqckey Club

Affonso Eduardo Reidy

The Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro may be Affonso Eduardo Reidy's most prominent work. Known for its structural solution, it is comprised of supports that work simultaneously as pilotis and beams.

Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro

© via Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa do MAM. Image Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro
© via Centro de Documentação e Pesquisa do MAM. Image Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro
© Fernanda Guimarães. Image Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro
© Fernanda Guimarães. Image Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro
About this author
Cite: Pereira, Matheus. "Iconic Columns in Modern Brazilian Architecture" [Pilares icônicos na arquitetura moderna brasileira ] 24 Nov 2018. ArchDaily. (Trans. Cavallaro, Fernanda) Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/906456/iconic-columns-in-modern-brazilian-architecture/> ISSN 0719-8884
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