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Ideology and Architecture in U.S.-Brazilian Relations, 1945-1960

Lecture by Professor Sonia Marques from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, UFRN, Brazil.

Thursday, January 08, 2009
12:00 PM
Lydeen Library, 4302 Rolfe Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095

The relationship between modernist architecture in Brazil and the U.S. between 1945 and 1960 followed an era of mutual discoveries: Wright’s visit to Brazil in 1931, the NY International Fair in 1939, and Brazil Builds in 1943. For Brazilians, this new relationship started with Neutra’s 1945 official visit to Brazil. His social concerns touched a new generation of Brazilian architects, particularly given their experience with the Estado Novo’s aesthetic and ideological polarizations. The diffusion of Zevi’s revisionist texts in Brazil, with their organicist apology, heightened interest in Wright’s works, nourishing the battle between organicists and rationalists. Wright’s aesthetics was used in Le Corbusier and the American Imperialism (1951), by the São Paulo-based left-wing engineer and architect Vilanova Artigas, in order to challenge Le Corbusier. His aesthetic positions had repercussions on a national level, giving rise to a late local organicist sensibility. Distancing themselves from the Corbusierian/Rio de Janeiro mainstream, regional groups flourished. In this context, Wright’s “presence” was often ironically combined with Lefebvre’s Marxist writings in a clear search for a more “humanized” form of modernism.

Professor Sonia Marques has a Doctorate in Sociology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes (France, 1996), and has been a visiting professor at the University of Montreal and at Tours University in France. She is a member of the Education Commission of DOCOMOMO, an international NGO dedicated to modern architecture.


Cost : Free and Opne to the Public

Sponsor(s): Latin American Institute, Center for Brazilian Studies

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