Rio de Janeiro Architecture Guide.

As the world’s top athletes swim, row, jump and run their way into history, we’d also like to invite several architects to take their place on the podium for triumphant works in Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding area.

Photo by T photography /

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer designed more than 500 projects in Brazil but his two favorites were this museum and the Cathedral of Brasilia. The Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, also known as the MAC, is a flying saucer-shaped structure situated on a cliff with panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro.
Completed: 1996
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro

Photo by Nessa Gnatoush /

Oscar Niemeyer Popular Theatre
“A popular theater is a theater with the participation of the people, for the people, and a place to plant the new,” said Oscar Niemeyer. This 460-seat theater is used for live music, dance and dramatic performances.
Completed: 1997
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro

Photo by Dmitry Islentev /

Christ the Redeemer Statue
You’ll be seeing this iconic statue in the Olympic coverage every day for the next two weeks. Impress your friends by knowing a few facts about one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Purpose: The statue was made to be a message of peace
Material: A blend of concrete and soapstone
Height: 125 feet | Weight: 635 tons
Cost: $250,000 (roughly equal to $3.2 million today)
Completed: 1931 – it took 9 years to create
Sculptor: Paul Landowski
Engineers: Heitor da Silva Costa and Albert Caquot
Location: Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

Photo by marchello74 /

Cidade das Artes
The City of Arts is a cultural complex designed to be a center for music. The 1780-seat concert hall is home to the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. French architect Christian de Portzamparc was the Pritzker Prize laureate in 1994.
Completed: 2012
Architect: Christian de Portzamparc
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Photo by lazyllama /

Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian
Dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, this cathedral was modeled after the Mayan pyramids. Inside the 246-foot-tall structure there is seating for 5,000 people, and standing room for 20,000.
Completed: 1976
Architect: Edgar Fonseca
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Photo by Robert Napiorkowski /

Copacabana Beach Boardwalk
Roberto Burle Marx – whose amazing exhibition at the Jewish Museum closes on September 18 – was one of the most remarkable landscape architects of the 20th century, bringing abstract, beautiful forms to more than 2,000 gardens worldwide. He was also a painter, textile designer, sculptor, ceramicist, set designer and stained-glass artist. His pavement design for the boardwalk of Avenida Atlantica at Copacabana Beach is one of his most widely known public works.
Completed: 1970
Architect: Burle Marx Landscape Design Studio
Location: Rio de Janeiro

Located close to Rio de Janeiro:

Photo by ostill /

National Congress of Brazil
In 1956, Brazil’s president Juscelino Kubitschek invited Niemeyer to design the civic buildings for the new capital city Brasilia. To reflect the two legislative chambers inside, the architect designed two cupolas for the roof: a dome over the Senate Chamber and a bowl over the larger Chamber of Deputies. Legislators’ offices are housed in the two 27-story towers.
Completed: 1960
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Brasilia

Photo by Filipe Frazao /

Cathedral of Brasilia
Constructed with sixteen 90-ton concrete columns, this hyperboloid structure is the Roman Catholic cathedral serving Brasilia. Between the columns are stained-glass windows depicting organic, flowing shapes in blue, white and brown.
Completed: 1970
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Brasilia

Photo by Jefferson Bernardes /

Palace of the Arches
Also known as Itamaraty Palace, this structure is headquarters to the Ministry of External Relations. Designed for the purpose of introducing Brazil to foreign visitors, the structure was built with local materials and furnished with works by Brazilian artists. Roberto Burle Marx designed the surrounding landscape.
Completed: 1970
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Brasilia

Photo by Andre Dib /

Alvorada Palace
Also called Planalto Palace, this is the official residence of the President of Brazil. The name Palácio da Alvorada, or “palace of dawn,” came from the building’s first resident, president Juscelino Kubitschek, who said, “What is Brasília, if not the dawn of a new day for Brazil?”
Completed: 1958
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
Location: Brasilia, DF