The Hidden Gems of Rio de Janeiro Architecture

Hey architecture aficionados, Rio de Janeiro architecture has a lot to offer and I am sure you have already heard of a lot of the famous projects.

Here is a list of the not as well known Rio de Janeiro Architecture Projects that you must see while in the city. Enjoy!

Parque Lage

is a fantastically designed park with pleasantly shaped gardens and paths that casually meander through the landscape. A beautiful mansion is the centerpiece of the park, quintessential classic Rio de Janeiro architecture, remodeled by the Italian architect, Marcio Vodret. Today the mansion is a visual art school and museum, which hosts art expositions, cultural events, and parties. The gardens are made up of native Atlantic Rainforest trees that shade relaxing lawns and maze-like bushes. It is home to monkeys and toucans, among other critters, a charming cafe, and it is the base of the hike to the Christ the Redeemer.

Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), Museu do Amanhã and Pier Maua

are the biggest noticeable improvements to the Porto Maravilha project, the largest revitalization project in Brazilian history (more info see Architecture & Urbanism). The MAR was inaugurated in 2013, and was prized by popular vote with the title of ‘best construction of 2013’ by the highly acclaimed international prize, Architizer A+ Award. This award speaks for itself. The whole encompassing area of Praça Maua has re-energized the surrounding neighborhood with its good design features, prioritized new environmentally conscious urban design, green space, a new light rail, and a touch of futuristic design with Santiago Calatrava’s Museu do Amanhã extending out over the pier. The entire area is very dynamic, shiny new, and worth visiting.


Oscar Niemeyer Modern Art Museum

located in the city across the bridge, Niteroi, is one of this legendary Brazilian architect’s most successful projects. The museum has a spaceship-like design, circular in form, with white painted concrete structure and large windows, taking full advantage of the stunning view. It opitimizes Niemeyer’s modern style of simplicity and organically shaped. The museum lies majestically isolated on an extended peninsula, perfectly framing the city of Rio de Janeiro right across the bay.


Burle Marx’s Garden

is an absolute must if landscape design is your passion. He is Brazil’s most famous landscape designer in history, credited with the Copacabana and Ipanema Beach designs and numerous perfectly crafted gardens and parks throughout the city and country. Of course, when any designer makes his or her own residence, the outcome is a spectacle. It is located quite far from the city center, yet a day in Marx’s personal gardens is a must. They are crafted with tropical plants and vibrant colors, descending streams, ponds and more.

Forte de Copacabana

is a historic military fort perfectly situated in between Copacabana and Ipanema. This prime real estate was strategically chosen to protect the Brazilian Empire. Today, although troops are still on site it is just for show, because in 1987 its primary function became a museum. Its architecture is traditional colonial Brazilian that anyone can appreciate. The main attraction of this spot is the lovely cafe/restaurant, Cafe do Forte, that looks out over Copacabana Beach, the buildings adjacent to the avenue, the mountains in the background, and the Sugarloaf (Pão de Azúcar) off in the distance. It is a perfectly framed photo-op and it may be the most charming place in the city to grab a coffee or a bite to eat and reminisce.


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