Contrary to popular belief, Brazil does not always rhyme with Oscar Niemeyer. Throughout the 1970s, foreign states wanted to show the talents of their national designers. And all have commissioned their best architects to build their diplomatic representation.
Geographically distant these architects are immersed in the era of aspirations, while the modernist movement seems to touch its boundaries. They all are in search of new formal and conceptual records that will be reflected in more than twenty embassies scattered throughout the city. If not all have the same interest, several stand out for their remarkable architecture, like the Italian embassies, France, Mexico or the Delegation of the European Union.
Mexican architecture and concrete coffered
In 1973, Abraham Zabludovsky puts the finishing touch to the Mexican Embassy in Brasilia. Born in 1924, he went to school at Mario Pani, the most prominent representative of the Mexican modern architecture, whose social purpose buildings and public buildings still inhabit the streets of Acapulco and Mexico City today. But nearly two years after creating his own agency, Zabludovsky was a bit far from the precepts of modernism to develop his own universe.He first adapts its project to the topography creating an architectural ensemble that follows the slope of the hill: below, the Chancery office space, a little above, the residence of the ambassador and in the background, housing officials and diplomats.
Tapping into Mexican culture, he reinterprets in Brazil patios and porches of vernacular architecture with formed concrete. He uses it in broad bands that form a frame styling and each of the sets that evoke the first glance Aztec geometry. This is accentuated by tropical vegetation integrated into the architecture. Inside, glazed tiles and patterns formed concrete decorated with sculptures in the material facing the Indian roots of Mexico to postmodernity.
Le Corbusier Michel Boyer
A few hundred meters, the Embassy of France did not experience the same fate. Entrusted to Le Corbusier because of its close relationship with Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, the two designers of the capital of Brazil, however, it could not be completed due to the death of the one of the architect, in 1965. The project was then attributed to the Chilean Guillermo Jullian de la Fuente, a former collaborator of Le Corbusier, who are asked to adopt the preliminary sketches because new needs.
Jullian refused to touch the work of the master and the French government decided to order a new draft. Completed in 1974 after three years of work, the embassy incorporates in its design to the Brazilian climate. All buildings are built around patios planted with lush vegetation, which provides excellent brightness and natural ventilation, eliminating the need to install air conditioning.
The biggest surprise is inside the residence of the ambassador suite. It reveals from the entrance some of the flagship creations of French designer Michel Boyer, the image of the lamp Brasília. The seventies in its approach, the interior design gives pride to the noble materials while living in comfort, functionality, and some statutory authority.
A tetrapod forest
Not far away is the Italian Embassy, the top of its amazing piles of concrete laid on a pond in the green water, seems to contemplate Lake Paranoa. Built between 1971 and 1977, the building is the work of one of the fascinating Italian architects of the twentieth century. Pier Luigi Nervi is primarily an engineering genius behind spectacular buildings such as the Cathedral of Saint Mary San Francisco.
The architect rests on a concrete tetrapods forest – an octagonal column which opens into four heads – a cardinal structure which transfigures the building through its geometric rhythm and raw appearance. Extremely complex to build, the work took much delay and must completion to the constant presence of engineers and technicians Nervi & Bartoli agency. Nervi himself visited the building, and completed it in 1977, a year later, just weeks before his death. An architectural testament.