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From open plan to open design:

architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress


Danilo Matoso Macedo
Elcio Gomes da Silva
Braslia . Brasil

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Science has its axioms; art has its principles.


Julien Guadet

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Escola Nacional de Belas-Artes

Adolfo Morales de los Rios, Rio de Janeiro, 1906

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Brazilian architects were able to tackle the varied


problems of a complex program and to come forward
with a concise and simple ground plan and with clear
and intelligent sectionsal plastic conception
S. Giedion, Brazil and contemporary architecture, 1956

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

quest for conciseness and purity, to be attained with


compact solutions, simple and geometric: problems of
hierarchy and of architectonic character; the fitness of
unity and harmony amongst the buildings and, further,
that these no longer [would be] expressed through their
secondary elements, but rather through the structure itself,
duly integrated within the original plastic conception
Oscar Niemeyer, Testimonial, 1958

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

quest for conciseness and purity, to be attained with


compact solutions, simple and geometric: problems of
hierarchy and of architectonic character; the fitness of
unity and harmony amongst the buildings and, further,
that these no longer [would be] expressed through their
secondary elements, but rather through the structure itself,
duly integrated within the original plastic conception
Oscar Niemeyer, Testimonial, 1958

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

hierarchy
character
unity
harmony
no longer expressed through their secondary elements
structure integrated within the plastic conception

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Competition-winning design for Braslia, 1957


Detailing of the Plaza of the Three Powers
Lucio Costa
Source: Casa de Lucio Costa

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Competition-winning design for Braslia,


1957
Detailing of the Plaza of the Three Powers
Lucio Costa
Source: Casa de Lucio Costa

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Preliminary sketch for the Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Mateus Gorovitz

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

central axis of the Esplanade

Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

central axis of the Esplanade

Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

central axis of the Esplanade

Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

central axis of the Esplanade

Palace of Congress, 1957


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: authors

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Pilar - Architectural drawing


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Platform and towers

Detail - Tower
Pilar - Structural drawing
Joaquim Cardozo

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Pilar - Architectural drawing


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Front colonade

Photo: Nelson Guimares

Pilar - Structural drawing


Joaquim Cardozo

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Platform - Cross-section: architectural drawing


Oscar Niemeyer, Nauro Esteves, 1957

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Platform formwork plan


Joaquim Cardozo

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Inverted dome Section


Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Inverted dome Section


Joaquim Cardozo

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Structural Scheme of the inverted dome

Source: Elcio Gomes

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Cross-section of the inverted dome


Source: Elcio Gomes

Joaquim Cardozo (1897-1978)

we are concerned no longer with a Cartesian geometry,


dominated or led by algebraic formalism, but with another,
more modern, that has cast off systems borrowed from
other sources and restricting its field of existence. The
use of this geometric reality () brings us nowadays to a
criterion of moldings, of the proportions and outline (). A
molding more intrinsic to the lines, surfaces and volumes
that constitute architectonic space, one that is defined by
the use of fields of tangency, and curvature, or contacts of
a higher order between these geometric entities. ()
Joaquim Cardozo, Some new ideas about architecture, 1963

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Towers: cladding
2007

Photos: Elcio Gomes

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Platforms : flooring
Oscar Niemeyer

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Platforms : flooring
The platform in 2007

Photo: Elcio Gomes

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Internal walls : marble cladding


Oscar Niemeyer
Source: Cmara dos Deputados

Foyer in the 60s

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Tower Glass-walls
Details
Oscar Niemeyer

Tower in 2007

Photo: Elcio Gomes

Source: Cmara dos Deputados

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Architectural design
Preliminary studies
Cladding/boarding
Glass-walls
General drawings

376 sheets
208 sheets
101 sheets
52 sheets
15 sheets

Structural Engineering 445 sheets

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Close relationship between the architectural and


engineering teams;
Adoption in some cases of standard industrialized
parts;
Architecturallanguagereducedtoveryfew,relatively
simple elements, where framing, cladding, coating
and flooring were made of small components or
with optically diverging compositions that conceal
imperfections.

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

Photo: Nelson Guimares

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012

From open plan to open design:


architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo danilo@mgs.arq.br
Elcio Gomes da Silva
elcio@mgs.arq.br
Braslia . Brasil

From open plan to open design: architectural principles in Niemeyers Palace of Congress
Danilo Matoso Macedo and Elcio Gomes . Braslia . Brasil
Open plan: architectural issues
12th International Docomomo Conference : the survival of Modern - from coffee cup to plan - august 7-10, 2012