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Gustavo Capanema Palace


Modernist Treasure in Downtown Rio de Janeiro

Burle Marx-designed gardens at Gustavo Capanema Palace

Pedro Kirilos/Riotur

Updated on May 13, 2014

Gustavo Capanema Palace, opened in 1936, is an architectural wonder born from a croquis by modernism master Le Corbusier for Brazil's Ministry of Education and Health. Gustavo Capanema, the minister after whom the building was later named, invited a team of young Brazilians architects, led by Lucio Costa, to create its final design.

A young Oscar Niemeyer more than doubled the height originally imagined by Le Corbusier for the columns that sustain the building, thus amplifying its feel of openness.

The facade has brise soleil, or sun baffle, a hallmark of Le Corbusier's style.

The ample spaces open to pedestrian circulation include gardens designed by Burle Marx and a blue and white tile mural by Candido Portinari. Other important works of art at the Palace are sculptures by Celso Antônio and Alfredo Ceschiatti as well as paintings by Alberto da Veiga Guignard and José Pancetti.

Listed as cultural heritage in 1948, the building had been in need of repairs. In 2011, bids were closed for upgrades in the elevators, wiring, fire safety and other areas. The building is also to be made wheelchair-accessible.


Rua da Imprensa 16
Rio de Janeiro - RJ


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