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Palmeiras and Pilotis

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In the 1950s, modern architecture became one of the most compelling and widely circulated, if controversial, symbols of industrial and cultural progress in Brazil. Such architects as Oscar Niemeyer and Affonso Reidy were both celebrated and reviled by specialists in the developed world for the liberties they took reconfiguring European architectural conventions for their tropical conditions. Two particular cases emanating from Rio de Janeiro – Reidy's design for the Museu de Arte Moderna and Niemeyer's journal Módulo – highlight how Brazilians engaged with this polemical discourse and disseminated their works of tropical modernism to foreign audiences. Through these and other examples, this article also points to ways in which Brazilians were complicit in the exoticization of their own country, deploying rhetoric about the tropics when it was advantageous and condemning it when it was not.

Keywords: Affonso Reidy; Architecture; Brazil; Max Bill; Modernism; Museu de Arte Moderna; Módulo; Rio de Janeiro; Roberto Burle Marx; Tropical

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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