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Critical Fortune of Brazilian modern architecture 1943-1955

Architectural Design_Scuola di Architettura Civile_Politecnico di Milano_A.A. 2014/2015


History of Contemporary Architecture_professor Federico Deambrosis.
Luini Luca (841132)
Menici Flavio (834813)

Critical Fortune of Brazilian modern architecture 1943-1955


Luini Luca (841132)
Menici Flavio (834813)

INTRODUCTION: EARLY MODERN EXPERIMENTS IN BRAZIL


Unlike other "Third World" regions, Latin America appears to have much in common with the "First
World": it does not belong to the centre, but it is certainly one of the centre's outer regions, the fringes of a
territory which has the Atlantic Ocean is its inland sea. This "Far West" also has the attraction of the tabula
rasa. It lacks the intense "wisdom" of the Orient, but the "relaxation" of its openness is highly seductive.
Four centuries on, the land of mass genocide was just an enormous blank on the map: it was simply there,
like a natural truth. 1
Jorge Francisco Liernur, A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of Latin America, in
Zodiac, n. 8, 1992.

Cyclically, the West has the tendency of closing itself or look beyond its boundaries. This happens in
conjunction with crisis periods or internal fortune. The period of approximately ten years that we analyse is
significant for specific analysis on Brazil, a global phenomenon in Modern Architecture, after World War II.
During the reconstruction, the Modern Movement declares itself as winner, meanwhile arises the debate
inside of it. Brazil, without any doubt, is part of this debate, in a period in which his power on the
international scene is emerging.
The great attention of the world on Brazil arose in the 1940s. As in the USA, the 1930s and 1940s are crucial
years in the process of making a national style. The contemporary European crisis pushes many architects
to move towards new horizons. Despite in South America this exodus is smaller than in North America
(Mies, Breuer, Neutra are some of these emigrants), Modern Architecture ideas take root in Latin America.
For what concern Brazil the pioneers that wanted to leave a mark on it are a lot.
Frank Lloyd Wright visited Rio de Janeiro in 1930, having agreed to sit on the jury for the Colombo
Lighthouse competition . 2This episode is certainly downplayed in his autobiography. Wright recalls the
climate and the landscape, but most of all a political event which he describes first-hand: the student
rebellion against outdated teaching methods at the School of Fine Arts. It was because of his support in
opposing the authorities, even at the risk of being arrested, that the students were able to uphold their
claims 3. The main characters of the Student Modern Movement were Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer and
Roberto brothers, that forward will become part of the mythology of Modern Brazilian architecture.
Mies Van Der Rohe realized at least three project for Latin America, one of this was the US embassy in So
Paolo, Brazil.
Le Corbusier's trip to Latin America in 1929 had a more intense, transcendental significance for him. This
trip allowed the Swiss architect to make at least two fundamental discoveries: architecture as landscape
and linear organization in the urban planning.
Jorge Francisco Liernur, A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of Latin America, in
Zodiac, n. 8, 1992.

Reeling under the impact of his first flight over the pampas and the Selva, Le Corbusier went on to explore,
especially in his project for Rio de Janeiro, the possibility of an encounter between man and nature on an
equal footing.
The most influential of these masters for the Brazilian culture was Le Corbusier. The poetic of Brazilian
architecture derives from Le Corbusier architectural idea of machine emouer, due also to the personal

links that he keeps for a long time with Brazilians, in particular Lucio Costa and Niemeyer (defined by Le
Corbusier as a prodigy guy).The first Brazilian building clearly modern is dated 1928. 4 The Modern
Movement in Brazil takes place in So Paolo, where architect Gregori Warchavchik designs his own house.
Born in Odessa, Warchavchik is scholar of Piacentini in Rome, and published in Brazil (when he arrived in
1923) a manifesto in which he joins Le Corbusiers ideas. In his Brazilian House appear the first timid
application of modern elements and new structural features. The 1930s represent a flourishing economical
moment, that create a large amount of projects in the public sphere. In Rio, under Gtulio Vargas
government 5, the result will be the construction of the ministry houses and public administration buildings.
The most iconic work of this period will be the Ministry of Education and Health by Lucio Costa and Oscar
Niemeyer 6, the building that represents the victory of Modern style over the academic and neo-colonial
styles. This work was, and remains nowadays, an essential benchmark for the study of Brazilian history of
architecture.
While the Ministry construction was just beginning, the Brazilian Pavilion at Worlds Fair in Flushing
Meadows, New York in 1939 was finished. The Pavilion realized by Lucio Costa and Niemeyer fascinated the
public for its play of horizontal planes created by the curved profile of the slabs, its relation between
interior and exterior space and the reinterpretation of Le Corbusiers modernism 7. Brazil was ready to show
the world its new currency in architecture.

Le Corbusiers sketch of his plan


for Rio de Janeiro (1929).

Gregori Warchavchik house in So Paolo


(1928).

THE 1940s: BRAZILS INTERNATIONAL EXPLOIT


In 1943 happens the first decisive moment of consciousness about virtues and possibilities of Brazilian
Architecture. In this year is inaugurated in New York the Museum Of Modern Arts exhibition called Brazil
Builds, Architecture New and Old 1652-1942, by Philip Goodwin, with the photography of Kidder-Smith. As
the previous MoMAs exhibition 8, it consists in a survey of significant works, realized during a trip of few
weeks in Brazil, searching for this new Architecture, to expose in New York first, and in many American
cities later on.
The exhibition fits perfectly in the surrounding political context. During the Roosevelts presidency he
applied the so called Good Neighbour policy 9 toward Latin America. Goodwin defines Brazil as:
..a country which was to be our future ally
Philip Goodwin, MoMA Opening, 1943.

When Philip Goodwin arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1942, he found a group of Modern buildings, almost all
within sight one another, which convinced him that a Modern movement, and one, moreover, with a
unique and identifiable national character, had taken root in Brazil.
Goodwins analysis aimed to find the roots of Brazilian contemporary architecture characterized by
freedom of form in the Portuguese Baroque period. Portuguese baroque style predilection for azulejos
(decorated tiles) is a tradition that continues also in the modern movement 10. His objective was at first to
celebrate the buildings of the ancient civilizations and the colonial past, and in a second time to connect
past traditions to functional principles, like the azulejos with climate and humidity control.
Also for contemporary architecture main interest in Goodwins research is referred to the technical aspect.
The brise-soleil is the fundamental feature of this new architecture. For Goodwin, it can solve functional
necessities and becomes at the same time a formal element. In the climate of Brazilian coastline, this is an
answer to the strong sun.
As early as 1933, Le Corbusier had used movable outside sunshades in his unexecuted project for
Barcelona, but it was the Brazilians who first put theory into practice. As developed by the modern
architects of Brazil, these external blinds are sometimes horizontal, sometimes vertical, sometimes movable,
sometimes fixed. They are called quebra sol in Portuguese, but the French term brise-soleil is more generally
used.
Philip Goodwin, Brazil Builds Architecture New and Old 1652-1942, 1943.

The brise-soleil is also considered the element that would surpass the American skyscraper, remaining
the model for air conditioning systems and elevators.
"The construction of impressive new buildings to house all government and public service departments is
evidence of the realization of the Brazilian Government and its forty million citizens of the great importance
of their country, third in area in the world. Rio de Janeiro has the most beautiful government building in the
Western Hemisphere, the new Ministry of Education and Health.
Philip Goodwin, MoMA Opening, 1943.

The highest moment of this process, the maximum synthesis, is represented by Minister of Healthy in Rio
de Janeiro. This work is a redesign of an original project by Le Corbusier, by his pupils Costa e Niemeyer. In
the project are presented with enthusiastic tones the main features of Brazilian new school: brise-soleil
and azulejos by Portinari 11.

In no case has the sunshade more successfully been integrated with the architecture than in the Ministry
of Education and Health
Philip Goodwin, Brazil Builds Architecture New and Old 1652-1942, 1943.

Brazilian architecture in this historical moment, doesnt represent just an exotic and trendy architecture to
look at. It was really considered as a possible way for future architecture all over the world. If we look back
at 1939 World Fair, the Brazilian Pavilion inspired an idea of modernity linked to lightness and harmony,
especially if compared to German or Soviet pavilions. Goodwin believed in this potentiality of Brazilian
architecture over other national styles weight down by this overcome rhetoric.
"Other capital cities of the world lag far behind Rio de Janeiro In architectural design. While Federal classic
in Washington, Royal Academy archaeology in London, Nazi classic in Munich, and neo-imperial in Moscow
are still triumphant, Brazil has had the courage to break away from safe and easy conservatism. Its fearless
departure from the slavery of traditionalism has put a depth charge under the antiquated routine of
governmental thought and has set free the spirit of creative design. The capitals of the world that will need
rebuilding after the war can look to no finer models than the modern buildings of the capital city of Brazil."
Philip Goodwin, MoMA Opening, 1943.

In 1944, in England, a similar review took place. The issue 567 of The Architectural Review: For The Artist
& Craftsmen is entirely dedicated to Brazil, defined as the possible third power of Western Hemisphere. In
this aspect, the journal follows MoMAs exhibition opinion. Kidder-Smith appears as writer of one of the
articles 12. In this period we assist to the creation of a consolidated repertoire of masterpieces, always
published in 1940s magazines. This group of works is interpreted as seminal of the entire movement. Some
example are the Brazilian Pavilion in New York Exposition and the complex of building around Pampulha
Lake.
In 1947, Brazilian Architecture arrived in France. The publication of the special issue of LArchitecture
daujourdhui (13-14) starts from similar premises (the MoMA exhibition is taken as reference for the
background). In the French journal instead, seems to prevail the will to underline the connections between
France and Brazil, considering themselves as fathers of this architecture.
The prevailing character in the journal is Le Corbusier. He writes with enthusiastic tones about the Cidade
de Motores, a motor citadel with aspects of Le Corbusierian urban design and it is also proposed the
correspondence between him and Lucio Costa. In an article by Niemeyer 13, Le Corbusier is defined le grand
gnie de larchitecture contemporaine and considered as the father of Brazilian architecture within Lucio
Costa, not only for his collaboration in Ministry of Health, but mostly for his teaching of architectural ideas.
Last, the journal proposed a history of the brise-soleil from the early project of Le Corbusier to the
Brazilian Ministry of Health 14. Roberto Burle Marxs gardens 15 are defined Jardines de lEsprit Nouveau. Is
evident as in this French review, Brazilian architecture is full of Le Corbusiers rhetoric and figurative world.
From these first publications, is clear that Brazilian world seems to attract Europe and USA for his liveliness
and architectural exuberance, but every nation tries to find similar aspect. From the American perspective
are appreciated more the technological aspects, in France the aesthetic aspect. In a period where many
countries were reconstructing their architectural heritage, Brazil prefigures trough his architectures,
possible trends for worlds architecture.
In any case in this historical period a consolidated global image of Brazilian Architecture took shape.
Architects like Niemeyer and Costa, but also Roberto brothers 16, became international icons, published in
all 1940s architecture magazines.
In 1948 in Italy, "Domus" is the journal that celebrated the Brazilian movement. Referring to the previous
publication, a background and a political analysis is introduced, and all the group of famous architects is

present. For his Italian origin and Milanese formation, compared for the first time Rino Levi, that later
became one of the most appreciated architect of this Italian review.

Brazil Builds catalogue of the exhibition in 1943.

The Architectural Review (1944) and Larchitecture DAujourdhui (1947) covers about Brazil.

THE 1950s: FROM EARLY CRITCS TO REPORT ON BRAZIL


Exactly Domus, in 1951, proposed an article that showed the first sign of a structural crisis in the Brazilian
experience. In the article by Carlo Santi, called Oscar Niemeyer, uno dei primi grandi architetti
dellAccademia Moderna, is celebrated the 40th birthday of the Brazilian master. As reported in the
article, in thirteen years of activity, he had the chance to work on an enormous amount of projects,
different in shape and size. This has been a rare possibility for an architect, but Niemeyer lived in an
historical period of complete synergy between politics and architecture.
The article recognizes the greatness of the architect, but stress in many occasions a vulgarity in his
architecture, caused by the arbitrary shapes that recall the Baroque age in a negative perception 17. Santi
declares his credit as artist, but his international value is lessen. In this article, the Brazilian architecture is
represented as a phenomenon that fits just in this young and immature nation 18, far from the European
sensibility. Niemeyer political diligence is more appreciated in comparison to his contribution to the
international debate about Architecture 19.
In the following years, "Domus" denounces a constant attention over Brazil, but the attention focuses
mostly on different authors from the heroes of Goodwins Exhibition. One aspect is the attention on the
emerging pole of So Paulo, not only in the architectural field, but also in parallel to art and design. In that
period the city was promoting itself as a primary cultural centre, an alternative to Rio, home of the major
number of architects in 1943 Exhibition: the so called Cariocan School 20.
In the cultural field, So Paulo is an active city during the 1950s. In the 1951 theres the institution of the
first So Paulo Biennial, promoted by the industrial entrepreneur Ciccillo Matarazzo. This worldwide art
event wanted to be the counterpart of Venice Biennale in the even years. In So Paulo is also present in
these years Pietro Maria Bardi 21, moved in Brazil, after the fall of the Regime in Italy with his wife, Achillina
Bo 22 (Lina Bo Bardi), that will be an affirmed architect in the Brazilian scene from the second half of the
1950s. In So Paulo Pietro Maria Bardi is co-founder with Assis-Chateaubriand of the So Paulo Museum of
Art 23 (the new structure is designed by Lina in 1968) and from 1950 he is founder and director of
Habitat 24 journal.
Its not a coincidence that "Domus", from these years, decides to publish mostly projects located in So
Paulo, and mainly by architects less published in Europe.
In particular "Domus" seems to appreciate a lot the work of Rino Levi, an Italian architect based in So
Paulo. From 1951 many of his projects in So Paulo were published by the Milanese journal (the articles
were named Una Casa, Un Teatro, Un edificio e una villa followed by In San Paolo). The
appreciation present in these articles concerns Levis distance from Brazilian modernizing formalisms, his
modernity in the planimetric organization and his ability in the use of materials 25.
In the following years projects by Sergio Bernardes or by Lina Bo Bardi (as Casa de Vidro 26 ), strictly
linked to "Domus" and Italian culture were published as proof of a shift in the choice about the publication
of Brazilian projects, probably less specifically Brazilians. In fact, both these architects will develop a
different direction for Brazilian architecture since these years.These themes converge in an emblematic
article in 1954. The publication is provided by English journal The Architectural Review and is called
Report on Brazil: its the attempt after a decade 27 to have a complete idea of the situation over Brazilian
architectural culture. Through contributions by different architects, here we can notice and observe a
substantial change in the point of view, strictly connected to the new tendencies evolving in Europe.
In conjunction to the second So Paulo Biennial, the English journal shows the Brazilian project exposed in
the exhibition, and asks five personalities in the architecture field to express their opinion on the projects
and more in general on the Brazilian state of architecture. Comments by Walter Gropius, Ernesto Nathan
Rogers and Max Bill, with different argumentations, accomplish a substantial change in Brazilian
perception, softening the old enthusiastic vision of Brazil as a promise land for modern architecture.

In the previous decade debate the emblematic work was the Ministry of Health, in this article the most
discussed building could be the house that Niemeyer builds for himself 28, in a wonderful valley not far from
Rio. Here probably Niemeyer reach the maximum freedom in the shapes and find his maximum exuberance
in this tropical rainforest context.
The most critical of the personalities called on intervention is surely Max Bill. The Swiss create with his
intervention a real mess in Brazil (but also worldwide) for his argumentations. For Bill, is important to be
frank in his tones, and proposes to Brazil, in his intentions, a constructive critic. This extract from the article
is useful to understand Bills language, in this case referring to California Building (1951) by Niemeyer,
that he saw in So Paulo once he arrived.
I saw some shocking things, modern architecture sunk to the depth, a riot of anti-social waste, lacking any
sense of responsibility towards either the business occupant or fits customers. [...] Here is utter anarchy in a
building, jungle growth in the worse sense. Immediately you enter the building site you are struck by an
awesome muddle of constructional systems. Thick pilotis, thin pilotis, pilotis of whimsical shapes lacking any
structural rhyme or reason, disposed all over the place; also walls entirely of reinforced concrete pointlessly
confused with the columns, cutting up and destroying all form and purpose. It is the most gigantic disorder I
have ever seen on a job. One is baffled to account for such barbarism.
Max Bill, Report On Brazil, in The Architectural Review: For the Artist & Craftsman, 1955.

His aversion is not referred only to this building or to Niemeyer: Bill elaborates four critical points generally
present in the Brazilian phenomenon. The freedom of shape, of Le Corbuserian legacy and just decorative,
the curtain-wall, used without air conditioning systems to support it, the brise soleil, used in an excessive
and unnecessary way, and pilotis, as we can understand in the previous description.
In the intervention Bill expresses his appreciation for Reidys Pedregulho 29 quarter in Rio and considers So
Paolo Biennial and Habitat journal as positive experiences for this country. In Pedregulho development
Max Bill was very interested in the buildings, in his opinion they joined visual sophistication and social
objectives.
Coming back to Bills thesis, we have to notice how, in that precise historical period these sentences were
able to create a deep reflection in Brazils culture. Europeans considered that photogenic and spectacular
architecture, no more modern. Otherwise, we have also to stress the fact that Max Bills vision is very far
from a poetic vision (as in Brazil): art is considered the apex of a perfect equilibrium between form,
construction and function. Architecture is a social art, that has to refer only to human needs.
The publication was followed by reactions in Brazil. Lucio Costa accuses Max Bill of aspiring to understand
Brazil after a visit of few days. He strongly defends the intervention in Pampulha as a necessary step for
Brazilian modernity in architecture, despite his bourgeois essence. 30 Max Bill is characterised by an
Eurocentric vision, in a moment of perception of Brazil as a pheriperical phenomenon in comparison to the
more advanced tendencies. In Europe no similar phenomena can be compared to Brazil.
Walter Gropius is another European Architect that did not understand at all the inner reasons of Brazilian
architecture. In his Report on Brazil, writes about his visit to Niemeyer house in Estrada de Canoas. The
perimeter of the house is completely glassed and an energetic and sinuous roof floats on both interiors and
exteriors. In this house there are references in Mies (Tugendaht House, Brno) and Wright (Fallingwater
House, Bear Run) 31, but reshaped under Niemeyers vision. In Gropius opinion this house doesnt
overcome the problem of being not reproducible. After many years Niemeyer declared in an interview
that Gropius was an idiot for this sentence 32, but at that time the tension about architecture was very hot
to create a polemic like this. Also Gropius preferred contemporary Reidys work, but his judge on Niemeyer
can be considered surely less critic.

Ernesto Nathan Rogers represented the moderate side in this critic, result of a different attitude of Italian
architecture of those years. In particular thought that Max Bills judgement has been too much intransigent,
and represent a specific culture and artistic idea. This is the opinion by Italian director of Casabella:
But another Swiss, Max Bill, an artist of great severity of style who has always tried to identify his works
with the objective laws of mathematics and geometry, was unable to appreciate the meaning of an art so
different from his own, even in those cases where that foreign art was perfectly self-sufficient and coherent
and produced works of undoubted value. But looking at Brazilian architecture from a particular angle (the
Swiss, for example) is, in any case, to fall into the error of abstraction, which leads fatally to the extreme
polarities of formalist criticism.
Ernesto Nathan Rogers, Report On Brazil, in The Architectural Review: For the Artist & Craftsman, 1955.

In Bills judgement many preconceptions and prejudices on Latin America are expressed. Rogers otherwise
underlines the necessity to try to identify with Brazilian contest and attitude. An architecture that in an
European context would appear inappropriate fits perfectly in the climate and in the natural context of
Brazil 33. Also Rogers admits many errors in Niemeyers work, but he cant deny his extraordinary
contribution to his country, in a precise historical moment. For Rogers, the negative judgement of a poetic
distant from European approach, its not a correct operation.
Rogers too visited Niemeyers house, accompanied by Lucio Costa. Overpassing some technical and formal
mistakes, Rogers described a strong poetic impression of the house overlooking the sunshine on the
Ocean34. Rogers considered fundamental the respect toward a different point of view in architecture.
Different, but not less respectable. Finally, its necessary to point up Rogers appreciation for Reidys work
at Pedregulho.
Some historians, as William Curtis 35, have the perception of a tiredness toward Brazilian architecture in
conjunction with the construction of Brasilia. In these publications, this sensation is somehow anticipated.

Pietro Maria Bardis first issue of Habitat and Niemeyers house in Rio (1953).

MoMAS EXHIBITON IN 1955: FROM BRAZILIAN PECULIARITY TOWARD A LATIN COMMON LANGUAGE
The architectural movement growth in Latin America came back to be a focus point for the public view
thanks to the attention of the U.S. cultural system that saw in the latin experience a possibility to create a
new cultural movement for all the American world , capable to stop the improve of the socialist culture and
society.
The peak of this renewed interest can be identified with MoMAs exhibition in 1955 named Latin America
Architecture since 1945, commissioned by Moderns International Program and organized by Arthur
Drexler and Henry-Russel Hitchcock. The exhibition had the purpose to analyse the entire region and its
various architectural currents, in a unique exhibition. The unitary vision had the aim to theorize a compact
movement with common roots and similar features. In this operation theres also a deliberate will of
ignoring part of the cultural and social complexity of this huge and fragmented continent, because the aim
of the exhibition was not to have a complete vision of all Latin America phenomena, but to show a precise
perspective over it.
Brazil in this context is emblematic: his history and his evolution of a national architecture can be compared
in such rough way to other countries. Brazil represents a peculiarity in Latin America panorama in particular
for his unique link to Le Corbusier.
This approximation of a Latin America vision has a strong political reason. USA in that period wanted to
reinforce their cultural hegemony in the American world 36. From this intention derives the decision to
analyse the Latin America through a unifying vision, searching for common aspects. Hitchcock and Drexler
work in this political background.
Latin America architecture has not to be considered as a unique event in MoMAs panorama of exhibitions.
The result of a work of a decade in analysing these different architectural phenomena is a twin exhibition:
Built in the USA: Post-War Architecture in 1952 37. In these two exhibitions we can observe the same
attitude in researching unitary and compact movement both in Northern that in Southern America. This
attitude can be considered nowadays a stretching of the reality, but at that time was useful in the process
of idealization of the American cultural block.
Become an interesting process to analyse the choice of exposed projects, especially if compared to
previous exhibition by Goodwin.
The exhibition starts with Brazilian history, considered as the most important South American nation and
father of Latin American architecture. All subsequent experience that took place in the surroundings
countries are considered as derived from Brazilian architecture, at least in the beginning. This idea is in part
connected to Goodwins vision, and it was a common and confirmed theory at that time.
Anyway the two exhibition dont have the same aim: in the oldest one the attention is focused on the
formal and constructive analysis of the Brazilian phenomenon, in Hitchcocks one the focus is the research
of the architecture of a continent. Goodwin, in Hitchcocks idea, lingers on the picturesque and the
recurring aspect of Brazilian architecture (brise-soleil, azulejos). For Hitchcock these are clich:
Latin America Architecture, apprehended as a whole, may well have something more than a few clich of
brise-soleil, shell vaults and azulejos to offer to the rest of the world.
Hitchcock, Henry-Russel. MoMA Latin America since 1945. Museum of New York. 1955.

Despite the earlier importance afforded by Goodwin, Hitchcock has little to say about the brise-soleil; he
mentions it only twice. For him it is just a device, one of many tools like colour to control climatic
conditions. In fact, he is able to talk about the Ministry of Education in Rio without mentioning its famous
brise-soleil. This would be impossible in 1943.

A new tendency completely absorbed in the exhibition is the duality between So Paulo and Rio. Modern
architecture in Brazil is not circumscribed in Rio. In So Paulo the better climate offers less maintenance
problem of surfaces (in many case solved through azulejos) and generally Hitchcock evidences a better
standard in the quality of the finishing. 38For Hitchcock Paulista architecture has the tendency of being less
Brazilian than Cariocan, more sober. Brazil has the greatest presence of solar-screening devices from
concrete permanent brise-soleil to movable wooden jalousies to openwork screens of tiles and precast
concrete. But in So Paulo architecture appears a tendency that can be assimilated more to other Latin
countries, where these elements are less used and emphasized.
In fact, if there is any hidden agenda in Latin American architecture since 1945 it is precisely the demotion
of the Cariocan School. This is a tricky situation for such downgrading would allow other traditions to
come to the foreground, but this is not Hitchcocks intention. Hitchcock is not contrary to national idioms,
rather, he is looking for a Universal Latin American idiom.
Contrary to Niemeyers lyricism, for Hitchcock, the reaction has not been strong enough. The attempts on
an answer regarding the audacity in the design of the building are balanced by other qualities as the
technical value of some work. Projects by Moreira, Bratkes and Bernardes are the one that reflect more a
softer and more disciplined elegance, linked more to Mies Van Der Rohe than to Le Corbusier.
The choice for Brazilian work presented at the exhibition, is oriented (with few exceptions) toward work
less specifically Brazilians, with a particular regard to structural tendencies (one of the few Brazilian work of
this kind is Castro Mellos sport centre in So Paulo, that combines this tendencies to the Brazilian concrete
shells). The restrained lyrical expression of form that Hitchcock found in the shell vault works in nation like
Mexico and Cuba 39 served to promote a subtle but important argument in Hitchcocks presentation: the
Latin American emancipation from the Cariocan (Rio de Janeiro) school. The juxtaposition of a more
geometric and controlled shell expression with the more fluid and expressive forms of what has been
recognized as the Brazilian school was useful to mark new developments in Latin America.
In these years the theme of the structures (in particular concrete) is in the centre of the international
debate. Can be interesting to recall that Pier Luigi Nervi, the great character of this period, was strongly in
contact with Brazilian culture. Linked to Bardi, he visited So Paulo in 1950 and 1951 (where he took a cycle
of lessons about structures) and was also structural consultant for Casa de Vidro and the MASP (Museum
of art of So Paulo) by Lina Bo Bardi. In the 1950s from Bardi and Nervi correspondence the possibility to
open a new studio in So Paulo by Nervi was suggested, but not realized. 40
Hitchcock, for what concern the architectonic figuration, didnt consider the solar exposition as a
determinant factor for the birth of a Latin aesthetics. According to Hitchcock, its the aeroplane, not the sun
and its plastic expression in the brise-soleil, that ushers in modernity for Latin America. The airplane, was
not seen as a mechanical organism, but as an element capable to connect a whole continent and modify his
architectural language. In South America the plane was a very used transportation system, because of the
lack of infrastructures, and consequently the different perception of the territory is reflected on the
architecture. This theme can be consider as a topos of South American architecture, since Le Corbusier trip
in 1926, when he was fascinated by the flight. It is not a coincidence that Brasilia in his shape recalls a
plane: in this rhetoric theres his conception of territorial outpost in a country in part undiscovered 41.
The fascination to the airplane is explained by Hitchcock, underlining an historical difference between Brazil
and other westernised nations. In many aspect Brazilian history doesnt present some fundamental steps
for other nations as the civil war, the creation of an infrastructure system and the industrialization.
Consequently the modernity has not the same European connotations, a sedimentation of experience,
otherwise is interpreted as a generational change of renewal of Modern Movements themes. History and
modernity are divided by Hitchcock.

In the study about materials that make up the projects, the approach by Hitchcock is sometime superficial:
the use of reinforced concrete is essentially due to the absence of metals in South America, but in Brazil
this fact isnt true at all. 42
The exhibition had a strong impact in the New Yorker cultural establishment and created a fervid debate
regarding the value of the exhibition on a didactic and educative aspect.
In
the article published by New York Times the 27th November 1955, Aline Saarinen expressed a strong
interest on Hitchcocks work. She was fascinated by the exhibition itself and by the beauty of Latin
American architecture. The works were exposed through a precise photographic survey that aimed to
emphasize the expressive character of architecture. Saarinen appreciated also the set-up of the exhibition
but criticized the lack of engineering works 43, fundamental in her opinion to the common language of
Southern America.
This critic is confirmed by Lewis Mumford, that wrote on the New Yorker about the exhibition. He also
criticized the superficial fascination for sinuous lines in Brazilian architecture. Specifically he considered
Niemeyers plastic virtuosity as arbitrary formal will, linked to the singles expression and not the evolution
of a collective idea. The opposition toward the exhibition found fertile ground in the lack of context in
which the exposed projects were inserted by Hithcock. The problem of context is perhaps one of the most
noticeable deficiencies, because almost no building was accompanied by a contextual site plan. The
collection of urban facades located at the end of the catalogue has the same disquieting effect, creating a
continuous facade that goes against the object quality of most of these buildings and creates an ideal Latin
American city, that doesnt exist.

Poster of the itinerant Exhibition Latin American Architecture (left) and photo of Castro de Mellos shell vault for a sport facility
(left).

CONCLUSIONS
" The flirtation with Latin American "vitalist" architecture lasted the duration of European expiation for
having caused the loss of twenty million human lives. With earlier optimism now restored, an unusual court
was set up in the prestigious offices in 1954 of The Architectural Review to pass ''judgement" (objectively, of
course) on Brazilian architecture.
Jorge Francisco Liernur, A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of Latin America, in
Zodiac, n. 8, 1992.

Latin American Architecture exhibition if not represents the ending point of this experience of the
Brazilian movement, is at least for a long time one of the last attempts to analyse the architecture of the
new world trough a critic point of view. Like we have just seen in the critique of Mumford, in the period
after the exposition we can notice a rising growth of the intellectual positions against Brazilian architecture
and its major exponents, already presents during the first years of the 50s in the European cultural debate.
This new vision against-expressionism of the architecture and of art in general is given by a radical changing
in the way of thinking after the second world war, characterized by the idea of rationality related to the art
process, totally against an irrational (or anyway more impulsive) approach typical of the Latin American
architecture.
The changing of judgement provoked different reactions by the architects interested by those critiques.
Lucio Costa in an interview in 1954 accused firmly Max Bill for having a superficial point of view of the
Brazilian phenomenon, supported by the fact that the journey of the Swiss went on only for three days in
the city of Pampulha. The following year, Edoardo Grimartes, Director of the architectural school of Belo
Horizonte, answered to the critiques of Bill sustaining that Brazilian architecture was moving on in
according to reach a claim of a national stile trough an own formal research. 44
The most interesting reaction to these changing of the global architectural thought can be identified in the
most famous Brazilian architect of that time, Oscar Niemeyer. In an article published in 1958 entitled The
social question in architecture he made a critique of his own work in the 40s, in which he agreed whit
most of the European critics, such as Max Bill or Rogers.
In that period Niemeyer was working on the construction of Brasilia, considered the highest and more
sacral moment of Brazilian architecture. In the design of the public buildings 45 the principal and necessary
innovation was an exasperated research of monumentality that it was never seen before in Brazil,
influenced by platonic solids and by surrealistic avant-garde idea of huge objects in the space of the city. In
that historical moment, he sustained that the forces of the trade sometimes have pushed him to an excess
of originality 46. He declared himself guilty of an obsessive research in reaching an original shape, but he also
underlined the experimental value, getting engaged to use the previous experiences in the design of the
new capital.
A fundamental event for the evolution of the architectural and urban Brazilian experimentation was the
election of the governor of Minas Gerais state Juscelino Kubischek as prime minister in 1955. Thanks to his
will to renovate the urban heritage he gave the possibility to the growth of the new city of Brasilia, that
without any doubt represents one of the most important architectural experiment in the nineteen century:
a foundation of a new city based on the modern movement ideas. Kubischek named Niemeyer as
department head of urban and architectural developments, leaving to him the responsibility to control the
urban growth of the city and the design of the public buildings. In order to create the urban planning he
organized a competition in 1956 where the projects attendees were submitted by a jury composed by
Brazilian architects and engineers. The winner of this competition was Lucio Costa with his proposal to
build a city following a main axe north-south trough a construction of an urban highway that linked the

residential superblocks placed along it. These directionality was broken by another one goes from east to
west, along that where located the public buildings.
It is born by the first action that everyone do when locates a place and take its control: two axes that cross
themselves with a right angle, creating the cross symbol . This was adapted to the topography, to the
natural slope of the ground and to the best orientation: the extremities of one of these axes where bended,
creating a mark that can be written in a triangle equilateral that defines area that has to be urbanized.
W. Holford, Brasilia, in Architectural Review, vol.122, 1957, p. 394

Obviously Brazilia raised a great debate about the role of the big cities and contemporary architecture,
similar to the Haussmann one when he created the new Paris at the end of nineteen century, because of
the unnatural method of planning that was adopted and for a vision of the future that cities of modern
foundation like Brazilia could have. Before a period in which world has seemed to look in other directions
respect than in South America, Brasilia has been the last moment of Brazilian glory after the war. It is
significant that in Italy (although the trend would eventually prove highly influential internationally),
Leonardo Benevolo devoted a whole chapter to Latin America, completed with the usual praise for Brazilian
architecture, in his Storia dell'Architettura Moderna published in 1960.
The word pronounced by Max Bill had been answered, like we have just said, by Costa, Niemeyer and all
the Brazilian movement trough their own words. But even more important is the fact that a generation of
Brazilian architects (for example Sergio Bernardes and Joao Filgueiras) never talked directly about the
critique of Bill, but they worked during their carriers having in mind the focus points underlined by the
Swiss. In 1958, a crucial year for the Brazil nation, Sergio Bernardes was in charge to design the Brazil
Pavilion in the world exposition of Bruxelles. Its not of secondary importance the fact that Niemeyer was
working in Brasilia, and this commitment didnt permit him to design Brazilian Pavilion in Belgium. Anyway
probably for the first time the other trend inside Brazilian reality was equalized to the academic old one,
pushed also by international tendencies. Bruxelles Exposition showed a victory of Pavilions characterized
by a strong structural value. In these perspective the Brazilian one was decisively aligned with the
international trend, not representing a particular innovation, but neither an outdated style building 47.
Whit this last significant experience we can declare finished the classic age 48 of the Brazilian architecture.
All the Latin movement due to the bending of the political situation in the continent during the 60s,
suspending the debate about the experience of the architecture and with the consequence discussion
about the future role that architecture should have inside the totalitarian regimes that were rising.
For architectural historians, Brazilian architecture was the period from the Ministry of Health and Education
to Brasilia. Although the period of discussion went far beyond the 1960 they ignored further developments
in Brazilian architecture after the construction of the new capital. When Brazil Builds had opened in 1943,
the optimism towards the role that Brazilian architecture was going to play in the post-war period was part
of the general optimism towards what was regarded as a new power. After few years, seemed that Brazil
didnt choose (or realize) to be a world power, perhaps because international condition did not allow for
new nation to enter in the rank of world power nations. As Brazils prominence in the world diminished, so
did its architecture in the international scene. Cold war world ceased to look at Brazilian phenomenon for
many years. 49

Pilot Plan for Brasilia in 1958 and its contemporary Bernardes pavilion at Bruxelles Exposition.

Bibliography
Angotti-salgueiro, Heliana. Marcel Gautherot Na Revista Mdulo Ensaios Fotogrficos , Imagens Do Brasil:
Da Cultura Material E Imaterial Arquitetura 1. (2014)
Bloc, Andr; et al. Brsil. LArchitecture d'Aujourd'hui 13-14.1 (1947)
Carranza, Luis E., and Fernando Luiz Lara. Max Bill Critique of the So Paulo Bienal. Modern Architecture in
Latin America: Art, Technology, and Utopia. University of Texas Press, 2015.
Cavalcanti, Guido. When Brazil Was Modern, Guide to Architecture 1928-1960. Ed. Princeton Architectural
Press. New York., 2003.
Condello, Annette. PIETRO MARIA BARDI - THE VICARIOUS ARCHITECT: THE IMPORTATION OF ITALIAN
FUTURISM TO BRAZIL.., 2004.
Curtis, William J. R. Larchitettura Moderna Dal 1900., 2006.
De Sousa-Leo, J. Brazil: The Background. The architectural review: for the artist & craftsman 567 (1944):
Deambrosis, Federico. LE CORBUSIER, BUENOS AIRES E LA VICENDA DEL PLAN DIRECTEUR E DELLEPBA. Le
Culture della Tecnica 26 (2015)
Del Real, Patricio. -Building a Continent. Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies 16.1 (2007): 95110.
Web.
-. Introduction and Bibliography Latin America Under Construction since 1945. (2015):
296313. Print.
Goodwin, Philip. MoMA Opening. (1943)
Goodwin, Philip, and G. Kidder-Smith. Brazil Builds Architecture New and Old 1652-1942. 1943.
Hitchcock, Henry-Russel. MoMA Latin America since 1945. Museum of New York. 1955.
Le Corbusier. Prcisions Sur Un tat Prsent de Larchitecture et de L'urbanisme. ditions C. Paris1930.
Levi, Rino. Casa San Paolo. "Domus" 258 (1951)
---. Teatro a San Paolo. "Domus" 259 (1951)
Liernur, Jorge Francisco. A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of
Latin America. Zodiac 8 (1992)
Liernur, Jorge Francisco, and Carlos Eduardo Comas. Entrance D Prelude: A Region in Motion. (2015)
Martinis, Roberta. Pier Luigi Nervi E Pietro Maria Bardi: Un Amicizia , Due Continenti. (2008)
Quezado Deccker, Zilah. Brazil Built. The Architecture of the Modern Movement in Brazil(2001)
Reidy, Affonso Eduardo. Il Quartiere Pedregulho a Rio de Janeiro. "Domus" 254 (1951)
Rogers, Ernesto Nathan et al. Report On Brazil. The architectural review: for the artist & craftsman (1955)
Santi, Carlo. Oscar Niemeyer, Uno Tra I Primi Architetti Della Grande Accademia Moderna. "Domus" 255
(1951)

Footnotes
Jorge Francisco Liernur in A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of Latin
America. Zodiac 8 (1992)

The idea of erecting a monument in honour of Columbus in Santo Domingo becomes universally accepted during the
1923 celebration of the Fifth International Conference of American States in Chile, when it is decreed that this
monument should be built in cooperation by all governments and peoples of America. This represent a rare moment
of Panamericanism of the history. Scottish architect Joseph Lea Gleave won the competition with a Neo-Maya style
project among 455 participants from 48 countries. The ceremony was held in Brazil in 1931, and the judges included
distinguished architects such as Horacio Acosta y Lara (Uruguay), Eliel Saarinen (Finland), and Frank Lloyd Wright
(USA). But, by 1950 only eight countries had made contributions totaling less than $15,000, yet the Dominican
government forged ahead with the project, and in 1948 the foundations of the monument were inaugurated. After
1948 there was growing instability in the country and the political situation made it impossible to resume construction
until 1986.

Jorge Francisco Liernur in A New World for the New Spirit: Twentieth-Century Architectures Discovery of Latin
America. Zodiac 8 (1992)
3

Guido Cavalcanti in When Brazil Was Modern, Guide to Architecture 1928-1960. Ed. Princeton Architectural Press.
New York., 2003.
The so called Vargas Era (Era Vargas) is the period in the history of Brazil between 1930 and 1945, when the country
was under the leadership of Getlio Dornelles Vargas. Vargas sought to bring Brazil out of the Great Depression
through statist-interventionist policies. He satisfied the demands of the rapidly growing urban bourgeois groups,
voiced by the new (to Brazil) mass-ideologies of populism and nationalism. Like Roosevelt, his first steps focused on
economic stimulus.

Originally by Le Corbusier after the call by the Brazilian minister Capanema in cooperation with a group of local
architecture, than developed by Costa and Niemeyer.

Guido Cavalcanti in When Brazil Was Modern, Guide to Architecture 1928-1960. Ed. Princeton Architectural Press.
New York., 2003.
7

In the early 1930s, at the request of Alfred Barr, Hitchcock collaborated with Philip Johnson and Lewis Mumford on
"Modern Architecture: International Exhibition" at the Museum of Modern Art (1932), the exhibition that presented
the new "International Style" architecture of Europe to an American audience. Hitchcock and Johnson's co-authored
book The International Style: Architecture Since 1922 was published simultaneously with the MoMA exhibit.
8

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office determined to improve relations with the nations of Central and
South America. Under his leadership the United States emphasized cooperation and trade rather than military force to
maintain stability in the hemisphere.

10

Philip Goodwin and G. Kidder-Smith. Brazil Builds Architecture New and Old 1652-1942. 1943. Pp.20

Candido Portinari (1903-1962) has been one of the most important and influential Brazilian artist. Influenced by
Picasso and by Diego Riveras Muralism, begun a long collaboration with Oscar Niemeyer from the 30s.
11

12

The article by Kidder-Smith is named The Architects and the Modern scene.

13

The article by Oscar Niemeyer Soares is named Ce qui manque a notre architecture, pp. 10

This section of the French magazine is an extract from Le Corbusiers Ouvre Complete. The selected project in this
brief history of brise-soleil are: Villa a Carthage 1928, Projet de lotissement in Barcelona 1933, Maison locative (1933)
and Cit des Affaires (1938-42) in Alger, Unit dHabitation in Marseille 1945-47.
14

Roberto Burle Marx (1909 1994) has been a landscape architect and artist that represented a new trend in the
design of gardens and public spaces in the Brazilian Modern Movement. In this article by LArchitecture
dAoujourdhui is celebrated his work in garden design as perfect counterpart and background of new Brazilian
15

modern buildings. Burle-Marx use harmonious curved lines, water, and tropical coloured flora to introduce a sense of
relaxation around buildings.
MMM Roberto was one of the most important offices of the Brazilian Modern Architecture. This firm was formed by
brothers Marcelo Rio (1908 - 1964), Milton (1914-1953) and Mauricio Roberto (1921-1996). Their ABI building (Sede
da Associao Brasileira de Imprensa) in Rio built in 1935 gave them international fame.
16

Niemeyer punta, da grande artista, direttamente sulla sua fantasia perch crede nella libert dellarte. Su questa
strada certo facile sconfinare nellarbitrario (). Alle volte lentusiasmo e il suo insoddisfatto bisogno di nuovo lo
portano a provare, come nel progetto per il teatro presso il Ministero di Rio de Janeiro forme di una plasticit
arbitraria e volgare, anche se appaiono talmente omogenee e conseguenti da trovare in se stesse un certo fascino
barocco. Carlo Santi in "Domus" 255.

17

Niemeyer, affascinato dalle infinite possibilit e dalla malleabilit del cemento armato, con un entusiasmo al di
fuori da qualsiasi scetticismo, veramente da popolo giovane, tenta le pi straordinarie forme plastiche. Carlo Santi in
"Domus" 255.

18

Per rispondere e partecipare alla vita della comunit gli edifici di Niemeyer, finalmente, hanno bisogno di elementi
decorativi Carlo Santi in "Domus" 255.
19

The definition of Cariocan School has his origin in this years. Mario de Andrade, Brazilian poet and critic said that
The first school, or what can be legitimately called "school" of modern architecture in Brazil, was the one in Rio de
Janeiro, with Lucio Costa as its principal representative. Mario de Andrade, 1943 (1980, p. 26)
A significant intellectual such as Mario de Andrade seems to have been the first Brazilian to characterize the group of
architects in activity in Rio de Janeiro as a "school," in the sense of an architectural conception that possesses
followers. "Brazilian School' "Cariocan School' and "First National Style in Modern Architecture," were some of the
labels assigned to the architecture practised in Brazil more or less between the decade of 1930 and the year of 1960.
(Segawa Hugo. Architecture of Brazil: 1900-1990).
20

Pietro Maria Bardi (La Spezia, 1900 So Paulo, 1999) was an Italian art critic connected to Fascist Regime,
previously director from 1933 of Quadrante architecture magazine. This journal represented the abstract rationalist
current of Italian Modern Architecture, critic about Piacentinis idea of Rationalist Architecture in the Fascist Period. In
1933 he first encountered Latin America, proposing the Italian Rationalism in the exhibition Architettura Italiana
dOggi in Buenos Aires. During that trip, he visited also So Paulo for the first time.

21

Lina Bo Bardi (Roma 1914- So Paulo 1992) previously worked from the 40s in Gio Pontis studio in Milan and in
"Domus" magazine as Deputy Director.
22

The foundation of the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC) at MASP, led by Pietro and Lina Bo Bardi, was also a vital
initiative on the process of arts and industrial production modernization in the country, especially in So Paulo. There,
between 1951 and 1953, European teachers and lecturers as Max Bill collaborated in the training of professionals
capable of designing objects compatible with the industrial culture.
23

Habitat was published from 1950 to 1965 and its first 15 issues had Pietro and Lina Bardis editorial signature.
Habitats editorial project privileged different areas of the cultural field. The magazine tried to bring closer the arts to
the ordinary life, proposing a new role to modern society. At that time, it was important to understand the new
Brazilian industrial scenario and its possibilities and in face of that Habitat presented and believed the arts,
architecture and industrial design from a rationalistic perspective. (Modern design meets Latin America: the role of
pioneering design/ Amorim Patricia, Cavalcanti Virginia)
24

25

Casa a So Paulo "Domus" 258, 1951.

Lina Bo Bardi, wrote Ponti in 1953, is earning herself a place in modern architecture. And the glass house has to
be ranked as a major theme of modern architecture. She is a credit both to Brazil which has motivated her and to Italy
which educated her. "Domus", October 1993.
26

27

The Architectural Review: For the Artist & Craftsman, 567 (1944).

28

Casa de Canoas, designed in 1951 and finished in 1953.

Pedregulho residential complex is probably the most important Brazilian projects in the early 1950s. Located not far
from down town Rio, the project was conceived as housing for low-income city workers. It was intended to provide
not only shelter, but also services and facilities that would help improve residents habits and customs. In the shape,
he clearly recall Le Corbusiers projects for Algiers and Rio.

29

Luis E. Carranza and Fernando Luiz Lara, Max Bill Critique of the So Paulo Bienal, in Modern Architecture in Latin
America: Art, Technology, and Utopia (University of Texas Press, 2015).
30

Guido Cavalcanti, When Brazil Was Modern, Guide to Architecture 1928-1960, ed. by Princeton Architectural Press
(New York, 2003).

31

Un giorno, molti anni fa, portai larchitetto tedesco Walter Gropius a visitare la mia Casa das Canoas, una casa che
avevo progettato e costruito nella foresta che domina Rio de Janeiro e che si trova su un terreno scosceso verso il
mare. E Gropius, dopo averla vista, mi si rivolse con queste parole: La sua casa molto bella, ma non
moltiplicabile. Mi sembr unincredibile stupidaggine! Se avessi voluto una casa moltiplicabile risposi lavrei
costruita su un terreno pianeggiante. Rimasi molto stupito da quel punto di vista soprattutto perch chi lo esprimeva
era un personaggio dellintelligenza di Walter Gropius. Ma il concetto era abbastanza chiaro, in realt. Spesso, nel
corso degli anni hanno scritto che il mio lavoro andava pi nella direzione della scultura che dellarchitettura. Non mi
sono mai offeso. Le contestazioni non mi offendono, anzi. Sono naturali. Talvolta, le critiche sono giuste. Per io la
penso diversamente. Se si fanno opere in serie, ripetitive, non si architetti, ma operai: e questo perch, dal mio
punto di vista, larchitettura invenzione, e, in quanto invenzione, arte. Oscar Niemayer in Il mondo ingiusto,
Milano, 2012. Respect than the Italian translation the original expression is clearly more explicit: Sua casa muito
bonita, mas no multiplicvel. Pensei: que filho da puta! in Saulo Mileti Quando Oscar Niemeyer mandou o
fundador da Bauhaus a merda.
32

33

Rogers introduce the similitude of a Brazilian girl putted from Copacabana to an Alpine glacier to underline his idea.

When I visited the house I was with Lucio Costa, who after having been considered for many years as the Allah of
Brazilian architects, decided (in a gesture of unheard-of and, perhaps, excessive modesty, to become Oscars
Mohamed, his most devout and generous prophet. I doubt that I shall ever forget that scene: the sun was just dipping
below the horizon, leaving us in a dark sea of orange, violet green and indigo. The house repeated the themes of that
orgiastic countryside. Ernesto Nathan Rogers in Report On Brazil.- The architectural review: for the artist &
craftsman (1955).

34

Talking about Brasilias development: Le forme che negli anni quaranta avevano mostrato una qualche vitalit,
stavano cominciando a rivelare segni di stanchezza. William Curtis, Larchitettura Moderna Dal 1900, 2006. P.501.
35

Its necessary to recall U.S.A. intervention in Guatemala in 1954: in those years the attention of U.S. government
focused on the South of the continent.

36

More precisely the exhibition followed previous architectural surveys organized by MoMA such as Modern
Architecture in 1932 by Hitchcock and Philip Johnson; Built in the USA: 1932 1944 organized in 1944 by Elizabeth B.
Mock and Philip Goodwin, and Built in the USA: Post-war Architecture organized in 1953 by Drexler and Hitchcock.
37

38

Henry-Russel Hitchcock, MoMA Latin America since 1945, Museum of (New York, 1955). Pp.36

In Mexico, the work of Felix Candela is shown by the CIBA laboratories of 1953, a joint project with Alejandro Prieto,
and a warehouse project (still under construction and inserted in the introductory essay of the catalogue), both in
Mexico City. The much celebrated Candela church of La Virgen Milagrosa of 1953 in Mexico City was not included,
much to the disbelief of the New York Times critic Aline Saarinen.
39

In Cuba is presented Max Borgess Tropicana Night Club of 1952, in Havana. The powerful expression of Borgess shells
refers to a functional aesthetics controlled by the rationality of mathematics that challenges the plastic expression of
the singular creative-genius architecture of Niemeyer.
40

Roberta Martinis, Pier Luigi Nervi E Pietro Maria Bardi: Un Amicizia , Due Continenti, 2008, 16465.

41

William J. R. Curtis, Larchitettura Moderna Dal 1900, 2006.

42

Patricio del Real, Introduction and Bibliography Latin America Under Construction since 1945, 2015, 296313.

In Vers Une Architecture, in 1928, Le Corbusier already inserted an image of engineering structure in South
America. The image of grain silos in Buenos Aires was retouched to remove their culminating triangular pediments.
(Jean Lois Cohen in Toward an Architectures introduction.)
43

Carranza, Luis E., and Fernando Luiz Lara. Max Bill Critique of the So Paulo Bienal. In Modern Architecture in Latin
America: Art, Technology, and Utopia. University of Texas Press, 2015.
44

In the planning of the future capital city, Lucio Costa was essentially designer of the masterplan, Niemeyer architect
of the main public buildings and Roberto Burle-Marx main landscape designer.
45

Carranza, Luis E. and Fernando Luiz Lara. Max Bill Critique of the So Paulo Bienal. In Modern Architecture in Latin
America: Art, Technology, and Utopia. University of Texas Press, 2015.
46

Located in a valley, Brazilian pavilions slow ramp guided the visitors down to a tropical garden designed by Roberto
Burle-Marx that was covered by a thin concrete membrane supported by four metallic columns. The theme of the
pavilion was A new Western civilization in the tropics. In the middle of the roof membrane was a circular opening
and a large air balloon. On sunny days the balloon was left to rise above the pavilion. On rainy days the balloon would
be pulled down to fill the opening, the water falling on its surface to a water table that was part of the garden below.
47

According to Guido Cavalcanti in When Brazil Was Modern, Guide to Architecture 1928-1960, this period goes from
the second half of the 30s to the construction of Brasilia.
48

In 2015, MoMAs exhibition Latin America in Construction: Architecture 19551980 tries to analyse those that for
long times have been dark years for the South American Architectural phenomena. On the 60th anniversary of that
important show, the Museum returns to the region to offer a complex overview of the positions, debates, and
architectural creativity between 1955 and the early 1980s. Latin America in Construction: Architecture 19551980
brings together a wealth of original materials that have never before been brought together and, for the most part,
are rarely exhibited even in their home countries. The exhibition is organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, and Patricio
del Real, Curatorial Assistant, Jorge Francisco Liernur, Carlos Eduardo Comas.
49

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