• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Architecture of Brazil

The pre-Columbian architecture in Brazil was simple and little to no original architecture from this time period remains. Many of the people were semi-nomadic so they never built permanent structures. For these people and those that were more settled, the primary focus of building was in the form of housing. These houses were simple in nature and used the local materials available. Due to their construction of natural degradable materials these historic structures have been replaced by more modern materials and styles. Today deep in the jungles of the Amazon rainforests many houses in these styles still exist, although many of these builders are also protected from outside contact by the Brazilian government.

With the arrival of the Portuguese came new architectural styles, building materials, and construction techniques. Most of these new buildings, which expanded from just housing to include churches, government buildings, and other structures, were built from longer lasting materials so continue to stand today. The city of Ouro Preto is one of the best examples of early colonial architecture in Brazil as many of the city's churches are from this era. Other cities, such as Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro also have excellent examples of colonial architecture.

After independence in the 1800s architectural influence expanded from Portugal and to a degree also Europe to include a more international style. These influences came primarily from France and the United States, but by 1900, Brazil had created numerous adaptations of these styles to the degree of having created their own unique style. Despite this growth and slow transformation, Brazil continued to adopt structures and styles from abroad and rarely was the country in a financial position to undertake large construction projects.

In the 1900s the country began to build in much greater numbers, especially in their rapidly expanding cities. Art Deco was popular in the 1920-1930s in Brazil, especially in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Campina Grande, and others. Perhaps one of the most famous Art Deco pieces in the world is in Rio de Janeiro: the huge Christ the Redeemer statue that stands high above the city.

Throughout the early 1900s not everything was built in Art Deco and often times buildings may have been inspired by Art Deco, but were truly Brazilian in every other way. In the 1940s, Rio de Janeiro built the Santos Dumont Airport, the Ministry of Education, and large housing complexes. At this same time cities like Sao Paulo were also growing rapidly and the buildings that date from this time period are numerous.

This building boom continued through the 1900s and was again focused in the cities as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and even Salvador became modern cities. The best place to this style without much interruption is Brasilia. The new capital was essentially constructed from the ground up with urban planning and buildings all done in the modern and post-modern styles. Nearly all of the government buildings are modern structures, but many public structures are just as impressive, especially the city's cathedral.

From the late 1900s and into the 2000s Brazil has continued to progress architecturally and, in many ways, is a leader in post-modern architecture. Again these structures are focused in the cities as both Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia seem to lead the path forward in post-modern architecture in Brazil.

This page was last updated: February, 2013