Building the New World: Studies in the Modern Architecture of Latin America, 1930-1960

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Verso, 2000 - Architecture - 280 pages
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Brasilia, Caracas, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro ... these are cities synonymous with some of the most innovative and progressive architecture of the twentieth century. The period between 1930 and 1960 in particular, when many Latin American economies expanded rapidly, was an era of incomparable inventiveness and creative production, as the various governments strove to shake off their colonial pasts and make public their modernising intentions.

This book focuses on major state-funded architectural projects, featuring not only the high-profile prestigious building like the House of Representatives in Barsilia but also social architecture such as schools and los-cost housing developments. Architects like Pani, Costa, Reidy and Niemeyer, who undertook this work with considerable autonomy and significant financial resources, in effect became social planners, their avant-garde aesthetic and technical experimentation often being teamed with radical social agendas.

By 1960, the year in which Brasilia was inaugurated, economic growth in the region was slowing and faith in the modernist project in general was faltering. The English-speaking world, which had previously endorsed and even envied Latin American architectural production, changed its opinion and largely dismissed it from the history of twentieth-century architecture. Building the New World redresses the balance. It provides an accessible introduction to the most important examples of state-funded modernism in Latin America during a period of almost unimaginable optimism, when politicians and architects saw architecture as, literally, a way of building themselves out of underdevelopment and into the new world of a culturally rich and socially inclusive future.

 

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Contents

The Modern Movement in architecture and urbanism
3
The USA and Latin American modern architecture I I
11
MEXICO
22
VENEZUELA
87
The Ciudad Universitaria
124
urban integration
140
The origins of modernism in Brazil
164
The evolution of modern architecture in Rio
180
Cidade Universitaria
200
The origins of BrasIlia
215
Failure and success of BrasIlia
240
NOTES
256
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
274
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About the author (2000)

Valerie Fraser is a Reader in the Department of Art History and Theory at the University of Essex. Her books include "Building the New World, The Architecture of Conquest, " and, with Oriana Baddeley, "Drawing the Line.

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