Brazil's Modern Architecture


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Brazil's architecture is strikingly distinct from Latin America as a whole and diverse in itself. Yet coverage of the architecture of twentieth-century Brazil is all too often confined to the work of one man (Oscar Niemeyer) or the buildings of two cities (Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo). In Brazil's Modern Architecture, a new generation of Brazilian cities and historians sets the record straight, providing a truly comprehensive survey and analysis of twentieth-century Brazilian architecture.

This tome embodies a vivid re-interpretation of Brazilian architecture throughout the course of the twentieth century: from the first modern houses of the 1920s and Le Corbusier's seminal visits to the country, through the well-known 'heroic' period of the 1940s-1950s to its post-1964 crisis, and up to contemporary developments. Works are examined from the 'inside' by explaining the cultural context that is crucial to a truly nuanced understanding of Brazilian architecture.

With bold originality, this book clarifies the often paradoxical relation between Brazil's political, social and economic history and its architectural development. Transcending past convention, it identifies - with unprecedented insight - the momentous architectural breakthroughs of twentieth-century Brazil with its tumultuous historical life. Where previous studies saw disintegration, this volume illustrates the often unrecognized threads of continuity between the most recent architectural work and that of the high-Modernist era of the mid-century.

Presented with elegant flair and argued with lively sophistication, Brazil's Modern Architecture is accessible and thought-provoking for the reader, and groundbreaking for the history of architecture.

Format: Paperback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in) 
Pages: 240 pp
Publisher: Phaidon
Elisabetta Andreoli and Adrian Forty

"The creative richness of Brazilian architecture, and the very high critical level of some of the writing in this book [...] suggest that far from worrying about Brazil being provincial, as the authors fear, it is we in Europe how need to learn from their experience... The book is filled with the most beautiful, adventurous modern architecture one has seen anywhere... By combining immense beauty with deep tragedy, perhaps this book exactly captures the spirit of Brazilian architecture, as in the samba by Cazuza, its beauty making everything "por um segundo mais feliz" (a little happier, for just a moment)."

Thomas Muirhead, Building Design

"Tells the story… of what made the country’s populace open to Le Corbusier’s radicalism and Niemayer’s modernism while living in shanty towns that would disgrace Calcutta."