World Cup is Here — Check Out Brazil's Trippiest Buildings
Visiting Brazil for the World Cup is a prime opportunity to see the beautifully unusual works of the country’s most famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer. During his legendary eight-decade career, Niemeyer — who died in 2012 at the age of 104! — left his mark all over his native country (and elsewhere; he helped design the United Nations’ New York City headquarters). He’s best known for designing many of the public buildings in Brazil’s capital of Brasilia. But you can see his work throughout several other World Cup host cities, where his uniquely curvy, modernist creations are some of the most prominent landmarks.
Here’s your guide to Niemeyer’s most awe-inspiring creations.
The Copan Building: The site of the first World Cup match is also home to one of Niemeyer’s most famous buildings. The S-shaped, 38-story Copan in downtown São Paulo features two Niemeyer trademarks: concrete and curves. It’s one of the city’s biggest buildings; it’s so big, it has its own postal code! More than 4,000 people live in its more than 1,100 apartments — which, understandably, are off-limits to tourists. You can, however, visit the ground floor shopping areas.
The Copan Building in São Paulo. (Photo: Silvio Tanaka/Flickr)
Ibirapuera Park: São Paulo’s answer to New York’s Central Park features several buildings designed by Niemeyer, including the domed Oca, the ramp-shaped Ibirapuera Auditorium, and the Cicillo Matarazzo pavilion.
The Ibirapuera Auditorium. (Photo: Nicolas de Camaret/Flickr)
Pampulha Architectural Complex: The series of buildings was one of Niemeyer’s first notable solo projects in the early 1940s. The buildings included a casino and a restaurant but the true wonder is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. This parabola-shaped structure is the second-most unique church you’ll ever see (Spoiler Alert: the most unique, another Niemeyer design, is in Brasília). The unconventional design was so controversial in its day, it took the Catholic Church more than 16 years to finally consecrate it.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi. (Photo: Lucas/Flickr)