Gustavo Capanema Palace

Gustavo Capanema Palace

Gustavo Capanema Palace

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The Gustavo Capanema Palace (in Portuguese, Palácio Gustavo Capanema) is an office building in Rio de Janeiro that is one of the finest examples of Brazilian 1930s modernist architecture. It was designed by a team composed of Lucio Costa (future designer of the layout of Brazil's modernist capital Brasília), along with Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Ernani Vasconcellos, Carlos Leão and Jorge Machado Moreira. Oscar Niemeyer, who was to become Brazil's best-known architect, also took an important role in the design process, as an intern in Costa's office. The group invited Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier to oversee the project, which was designed in 1935-1936. Construction was begun by the Getúlio Vargas government in 1939 and was completed in 1943, to house Brazil's new Ministry of Education and Health. In 1960 the national capital was moved to Brasília, while the building became a Rio office for the ministry, which it remains today.

The building is named after author and educator Gustavo Capanema, who was the first Minister of Education of Brazil. It is located at Rua da Imprensa, 16, in the downtown Rio area of Castelo. Delighted with the shape of Guanabara Bay, Corbusier suggested that the building should be located next to the sea, instead of on an inner downtown street, but the government declined.

The project was extremely bold for the time. It was the first modernist public building in the Americas, and on a much larger scale than anything Le Corbusier had built...
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