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Michael Webb
writes on modern architecture, design, and travel. He is the author of 26 books, most recently Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection (Rizzoli) and Venice CA: Art +Architecture in a Maverick Community (Abrams). He travels widely in search of new and classic modern architecture and contributes to magazines around the world. Michael lives in the Neutra apartment that Charles and Ray Eames once called home.

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Thursday
Dec022010

REVIEW: Casa Modernista: A History of the Brazil Modern House

Casa Modernista: A History of the Brazil Modern House
Text by Alan Hess, Photographs by Alan Weintraub
(Rizzoli International, $75)

As an ardent communist, Oscar Niemeyer has always preferred to build in the public realm rather than design houses for affluent individuals, though he did create a gem for himself in the hills above Rio. The same is true for Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Lino Bo Bardi; as a result, most of the houses in this nine-decade survey are unfamiliar. What’s remarkable is how well even the earliest examples have survived the shifts of fashion and the ravages of a sub-tropical climate. One admires the author’s industry in tracking down and gaining entry to so many private domains, and delights in the variety and the way that they have been cherished. Most are footnotes to the history of modernism in Brazil, but this is a handsome and welcome addition to the growing number of English-language books on the Latin American legacy.

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