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AR October 2019 on Brazil

1465 cover ar brazil

Paulo Mendes da Rocha | MMBB Arquitetos | Andrade Morettin | Kengo Kuma + FGMF | Königsberger Vannucchi | Brasil Arquitetura | Affonso Eduardo Reidy | Gru.a | 23 Sul | Messina Rivas | C+P Arquitetura | Rosenbaum + Aleph Zero | Oscar Niemeyer

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The skies darkening with smoke over the Amazon rainforest seem too literal a symbol of Brazil’s tenuous future. As Jair Bolsonaro’s government strips the nation’s cultural institutions of funding, as public projects are strained by their own procurement, as threats to Amazonian tribes beget threats to the future of our planet, we are reminded that what happens to Brazil happens to all of us.

Despite adverse conditions, cultures for Brazilian architectural production persist. In this issue, we explore the resistance of younger offices, their efforts standing stalwart or even enriched by stormy weather, and we look at insurgent practices of occupation and collective action in the abandoned buildings of São Paulo. We visit three major buildings that have recently broken through the restrictive net placed over larger projects: school dormitories by Rosenbaum and Aleph Zero, the Instituto Moreira Salles by Andrade Morettin – a recent addition to the historic hub of Avenida Paulista – as well as the SESC 24 de Maio by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and MMBB, a utopian dream of a social condenser with a future under threat.

A master of the Paulista school still strolling the streets of his city, Paulo Mendes da Rocha also features in a retrospective, presenting his architecture as one of resistance, tooled against the dictatorship that stretched between 1964 and 1985. Affonso Eduardo Reidy put forward a vision of a collective society in the Pedregulho housing projects that has hardly been upheld in its renovation. Despite the lofty promises of this architecture, Fernando Luiz Lara also finds that Lucio Costa’s habilitation of a tropical Modernism in Brazil through stitching with the country’s colonial past retains resonance today. 

This issue’s Reputations features none other than Oscar Niemeyer, the promise of his monument city explored in a story of Brasília by Milton Hatoum. We also look to Recife, as the new Museu Cais do Sertão redevelops quayside buildings in celebration of the Brazilian outback and homage to the work of Lina Bo Bardi. Bo Bardi saw in Brazil a country of eternal future, even though, as Swiss-born poet Blaise Cendrars observes, to move inland is to move back in time. Architecture, after all, is nothing if not concomitant with multiple and myriad artistic pursuits; in this issue we also follow changing representations of social division and urban space in Brazilian cinema, and explore the rich symbiosis between Modernism and bossa nova. The full table of contents is available here.

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