The Olympic Games are seen as a celebration of human achievement, and not just for sports. The competition has also produced some of the world’s most spectacular buildings.
Rio’s Olympic park, designed by a British firm had, from the start, less grand ambitions. The brief was to make many of the buildings re-usable.
One theme throughout the park is its curved forms – reminiscent of the architecture of Brasilia, Brazil’s modernist capital, largely designed by the famed Oscar Niemeyer.
But Oscar Niemeyer’s nephew, who is also an architect, is somewhat lukewarm about the design quality of the Olympic project.
While the architectural merit of the park is disputed, all seem to agree is that another part of the city has been transformed by the Olympics.
Brazil’s architectural history is dominated by Modernism, with architects like Oscar Niemeyer, Lina Bo Bardi and Lucio Costa all famed for their contribution to the movement.
Supplanted from Europe and America, the style took its own direction in Brazil, steered by the country’s tropical climate. The geometric concrete forms offered a juxtaposition to the lush landscape, while latticed facades and brise-soleils helped to provide shade from the heat.
While capital Brasília and economic powerhouse São Paulo are perhaps better known for their Modernist architecture, coastal Rio also has many gems. The projects range from cultural institutions and religious buildings, to large-scale housing, private residences and landscape interventions.