Located in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, the Niteroi museum of contemporary art is one of southern Brasil's most famous arts based attractions and is one of the cities more well loved landmarks. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, one of the big dogs and founding fathers of modern architecture, the museum was completed in 1996. The structure stands at 16 metres in hight and the main body possesses a diameter of 50 metres which, like the stamen of a flower, protrudes from the ground and is situated above a reflective pool of water, the Boa Viagem -meaning Bon voyage.
As you will no doubt agree, the shape of the museum has been likened to that of a Hollywood style UFO; a flying saucer. This is fitting for its intention; a modernist design, designed to exhibit contemporary and modernist art. The museum sits dominant atop a cliff side, overlooking Guanabara bay, the bay that separates Niterio and Rio de Janeiro and has a very lavish entrance in the form of a widened red pathway that winds and twists itself up towards the exhibition hall.
This is the wide access slope, mentioned earlier. It's garish red even extends itself the the white inside wall; where the pigment in the white has picked up on it. An unusual but grand entrance to an unusual but grand structure. Oscar Niemeyer's architectural philosophy had a lot to do with nature and natural forms that could be depicted in man made form; He once stated,
I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein., a statement that, as you can see, is true to form with this museum; despite this structure being one of the few that met any criticism and being one of his last projects.
A look out on to nature from within a defining structure of man; an excellent juxtaposition to enjoy what's both inside and out.
A shot from the entrance slope, overlooking the museum, reflective pool and bay all at once; an excellent shot from our photographer, Marcela Grassi. Again, the curves and colour, of the man made, contrast with the natural surrounding but not at all in an off putting way, in fact the soft curves and angles used help to soften its prominence somewhat on the cliff side.
From the other side we get to take a closer look at the spectacle and admire the structure and its surroundings with greater appreciation. This is a very unique building from Oscar Niemeyer and a fitting tribute to a monumental list of work throughout his life time.