Day 40 :: Redentor

The famous O Cristo Redento , panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro, facades of modern projects by Brazilian Modernist Lucio Costa, and a more contemporary work by an architect whose name I don’t remember.

This morning I woke up to a new resident in my room, a medical student from Chicago named Walter. Luckily he was on his way to go see the aforementioned statue of Christ overlooking Rio so after a quick breakfast we headed out. An hour long bus ride on route 583, one of the most unsafe and rickety rides I have ever had the pleasure of taking, we arrived at the small train station that takes you up the mountain and to the monument. In all the journey from our hostel to under the uncertain eyes of Christ took just over three hours. It was perhaps one of the best sunblocks I have ever seen.

After a long decent, my new travel companion and I found a small Brazilian meat joint and enjoyed a quick lunch before heading off the the Centro district. The other day Leonardo outlined a tour of what could be described as the city’s downtown to see the ‘famous’ buildings and fragments of urban planning left behind by the Brazilian Modernists – most notably, Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer (though supposedly Corbusier had a hand in some of the planning as well).

This part of the city, less like a dilapidated beach resort from the 80’s than the rest of Rio, was booming with traces of the city’s colonized past, relics of the Modernist era, a Beaux-Arts attempt at urban planning, and an incredibly diverse demographics. The first thing that caught my eye was the contemporary project pictured above, which, excuse the somewhat internal reference that mostly my Yale colleagues would get – damn it Alex, this could have been your project for Tom Beeby’s studio. I took my camera out somewhat oblivious to the seedy gentlemen in my vicinity when one quickly approached me from behind; before he had a chance to grab what was in my hand, enter Walter with a swift shoulder charge to block my impending theft. Ah…the relief of having a companion. As the miscreant ran off, we realized we would have to be on our guard more in this area of town. From that point forth paranoia and teamwork got us through the rest of the day with no problems. We returned to our neighborhood in Copacabana and found a little BBQ steak and chicken joint along the water to finish off a busy day.

Largely exhausting my checklist of things to see in the city, tomorrow will be spent visiting Pão de Açúcar to get some photographs for a friend back in NYC, drawing and repacking before I am off to Brasilia.

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