The Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil

Fernando Luiz Lara

Foreword by James Holston
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"Proves that contrary to post-modern beliefs and rhetoric and to what happened in the U.S. and in Europe, in the case of Brazil modern architecture was popular and inspired the production of buildings by non-architects, helping to mold a middle-class culture and a new system of values."--Vicente del Rio, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

"Fills an important gap in our understanding of not only how architecture is seen, understood, and reproduced by the population at large but, more specifically and importantly, the significance of modern and paradigmatic architecture to the public in Brazil."--Luis E. Carranza, Roger Williams University

During the mid-twentieth century, Brazil as a country seemed to be fascinated with modernism. Middle-class people would read about it in popular newspapers and journals, then go about designing their own homes in the modernist style, using distinctive layouts and façades. In other words, modernist architecture was the popular architecture of Brazil.

Fernando Luiz Lara investigates how and why modern architecture became so popular in his native country, tracking the path of the dissemination as well as the economic, cultural, and political conditions that made it possible. He views it as a direct extension of the optimism and relative stability that spread throughout the country beginning in the 1950s.

This original and significant contribution to the field counters the traditional historiography of modernist architecture, and has broad applicability in examining the importance of the style throughout Latin America.

Fernando Luiz Lara is assistant professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

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"Will surely have an impact on architectural studies in Brazil, as well as on the way in which Brazilian modernism is viewed worldwide. It continues important debates about architectural identity and expands debate about tradition, self-construction and the popularization of modern architecture." The Americas 66:4

"It will surely have an impact on architectural studies in Brazil, as well as on the way in which Brazilian modernism is viewed worldwide. It continues important debates about architectural identity and expands debate about tradition, self-construction and the popularization of modern architecture." The Americas

"Fills an important gap in our understanding of the production of architecture by the population at large and, in this case, of the specific history of that production in Brazil. More specifically and importantly, it details the role of modern and paradigmatic architecture in that popular production; showing how architecture is seen, understood, and reproduced by the population at large. Lara's book also provides the specific reasons why a modern architectural vocabulary was adapted within popular forms of architectural production and the theoretical repercussions of this on the architectural profession and the history of architecture. In the end, The Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil suggests that Brazilian architecture should be understood from the forms and urban environments that the people, as a whole, imagined and created and not only from what the masters designed and built." H-Net Reviews/ H-LatAm

"What The Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil does is more important than simply addressing the lack of material on the paradigmatic work of the great Brazilian architects. It centers its analysis on the completely ignored popular architecture of Brazil instead of reigning episteme of Brazilian architecture represented by the well-known and recognized forms of architects like Niemeyer and Costa. This book presents the heretofore unacknowledged influence of modern architects in Brazil on the popular architecture of that country." H-Net Reviews: H-LatAm

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