Brazil: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion Books - by Richard J. Williams

By Richard J. Williams

Set opposed to a backdrop of breathtaking typical good looks, Brazil’s amazing modernist structure has lengthy garnered overseas acclaim. yet those famous works are usually not totally reflective of the equipped surroundings of Brazil, and with this quantity, Richard Williams finds the wealthy architectural historical past of Brazil. Spanning from 1945 via this day, the publication examines Brazilian structure past the works of popular architects equivalent to Oscar Niemeyer and the “Carioca” architects of Rio de Janeiro. Williams investigates matters comparable to using historical structure, the significance of relaxation and comfort, the position of the favela as a backdrop and suggestion for improvement, and the fast progress of towns. From the targeted international background website of Brasilia—a capital urban that used to be deliberate from the floor up—to the deploy paintings of artists reminiscent of Hélio Oiticica, Brazil delves into the origins and far-reaching impression of Brazil’s architectural modernism. At a second while Latin the USA is of accelerating value in worldwide enterprise and tradition, Brazil may be a necessary learn for all students of structure and Latin American historical past.

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Extra resources for Brazil: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion Books - Modern Architectures in History)

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39 In appearance, the Park Hotel is at first sight strikingly similar to Niemeyer’s Grande Hotel. Like the Grande Hotel, it is a horizontal block set into a hillside on a narrow, steeply sloping site. It is relatively small, just ten rooms; it is four storeys in height; it has clearly demarcated public and private sides: the private side is defined by a balcony running the entire length of the structure, and providing access to the private rooms; the more public functions of the hotel are located on the ground floor of the building.

Goodwin’s view is notably inclusive. But it also clearly excludes much from its understanding of Modernism. It disparages most of the contemporary fabric of Brazil’s big cities. It has little to say about São Paulo, for example, then overtaking Rio as the country’s largest commercial and cultural capital. It ignores the gargantuan Edificio Martinelli in that city, a skyscraper the equal of anything in New York, built in 1929 in the style of an over-scaled Renaissance palazzo. In Rio, Goodwin can complain only about the modern development along the Avenida Rio Branco, for example, development that turned a small colonial town into a version of Second Empire Paris, complete with the technological infrastructure (the paved roads, the street lighting, the trams, the elevators) that made such a vision of modernity possible.

As Goodwin notes – in fact it is the only thing he says about it – the tower is highly illusionistic, its utilitarian appearance disguising the fact that only a part of it is used as a storage tank. And in the image, its scale is quite uncertain. By burning out the details, Kidder-Smith plays up the fact that it could read as a 30-storey slab block. These things suggest a connection with the Baroque, which is illusionistic if nothing else. In other words, the dialectic between past and present is strongly here in the image, whatever the aims of the architect.

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