Expressed in Concrete [Brazil]
Over the last two and a half months, I have had the great opportunity to study in Brazil. Between participating in a Cultural Studies program and currently being involved in an Urban Planning Studio, I was able to visit several states and cities of this vast country.
In this blog post, I decided to share with you a very specific set of buildings I was able to visit during my ongoing travels. The common thread between these buildings is that they have been constructed with reinforced concrete.
Reinforced concrete and clay hollow bricks appear to be the most common building materials in Brazilian building culture. (However, brick is mostly used as infill within a concrete structural skeleton.) Steel construction is very rarely seen even in major cities such as São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.
In general, compared to the United States, less attention is paid to achieving a smooth and clean finish in concrete. Construction tolerances also appear to be much more lenient. In most “everyday-construction,” applying a secondary finish such as ceramic tile or plaster conceals the roughness of concrete. However there are equally as many buildings that express the texture and properties of concrete creatively.
I would like to admit that it is impossible to talk about this subject without talking about Brasilia – the modernist urban planning brainchild of Architect Oscar Niemeyer. But since I have not had the opportunity to visit Brasilia yet, it will be left for a later discussion.