Many people dream about visiting Brazil. We made our dream come true in our 2008 ArchiTravel trip to Rio, Brazilia and São Paulo.
Rio is a city with a unique location, set between ocean, tropical forests and mountains. Architecturally we discovered a multilayered city from the colonial era to modernity that reinventing itself several times over with different architectural styles blended into each other. Rio is so much more than a one-note samba for celebration—the city and its environs are chock-full of great buildings, parks, promenades, restaurants, museums, and beaches, all imbued with a sense of joy and sensuality. Of course we visited the famous Maracanã Stadium to watch the final game of the season!
Among architects – Oscar Niemeyer is the first thought connected to Brazil. The most known buildings by Niemeyer are in Brasilia, but in Rio we had the chance to see his evolution from his very first building, a small nursery school, to his last built work, the complex for the University FGV.
We had the opportunity to visit the city of Niterói, located just across the water from Rio and one of his most interesting designs in its Museum of Contemporary Art, the MAC. In Niemeyer’s own words, the “architecture occurred spontaneously as a flower” jutting out from the edge of the rock to overlook the water. After you walk up a winding ramp into the building you can choose to look at the pretty panoramic vista across the bay, or enjoy some of Brazil’s finest contemporary art within.
From Rio we flew to Brazilia where we admired the fluid and futuristic architecture of Oscar Niemeyer. Each one of us judged for himself whether the world’s first fully planned national capital has succeeded or failed in making Brazil the country of the future.
Built in the late 1950s, Brasilia is one of the youngest capitals in the world. Designed and built with the knowledge and wisdom of two famous architects of thetime, it is today a functioning capital and a must-see for architects and urban planners.
One of the most amazing structure in this city is the Cathedral of Brasília, a stunning, hyperboloid, hyperbolically cool structure, held up by 16 curved concrete columns arranged in a circular pattern, its gaps filled with stained glass. Inside, angelic sculptures hang from the ceiling to greet the faithful in prayer.
One of the prettiest buildings in the nation’s capital city, Itamaraty Palace houses Brazil’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sports a large reflection pool, giant glass windows, and stately arches — designed in Niemeyer’s characteristic modernist style.
With over 11 million inhabitants, São Paulo is one of the largest cities in the world and the most populous in the southern hemisphere and probably the most lively architectural scene in Brazil and numerous contemporary projects to be discovered. Many of them are manifestos of Brazilian modernity. In the 1930‘s Brazilian architects were inspired by European modern style and introduced it in Brazil. They adapted the modern principles to different social, structural and climatic conditions.
Another very important style in São Paulo is Brutalism. Architects like Lina Bo Bardi, Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Vilanova Artigas formed the Paulista School, which is connected to the European Brutalism and created many unique and famous buildings such as the Art Museum of São Paulo MASP, the Sculpture Museum MuBe and the Faculty of Architecture. We had an amazing panoramic view of the city from the roof top of Hotel Unique with its special swimming pool.
In São Paulo we spent some time during our last day to visit the Ibirapuera Park, an absolutely stunning marriage of modern design and native vegetation.. Every major city in every major country has its great park, and its formal design and layout — spearheaded by Oscar Niemeyer on the architecture front and landscaped by Otávio Augusto de Teixeira Mendes — were effectively São Paulo’s answer to Central Park.
Rio, Brazilia and São Paulo was the perfect travel combination for architecture lovers.
Original text in DestinaTions website: www.architravel.com/destinations/a-perfect-travel-for-architecture-lovers