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If you live and breathe architecture, it may be time to head to Rio de Janeiro. UNESCO has declared the seaside Brazilian city the World Capital of Architecture for 2020, so if you needed another reason to justify your trip south to the trending travel destination, consider it found.
“The World Capital of Architecture initiative underscores the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context,” said Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, UNESCO’s assistant director-general for culture, in a statement. “Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development.”
So what exactly does a World Capital of Architecture do? The duties are primarily related to hosting. For starters, Rio will host the UIA (International Union of Architects) World Congress every three years. It’ll also be the home of a series of architecture events, organize activities that promote projects of architects and urban planners, and generally serve as a forum for debates concerning the global challenges of architecture.
If you’re planning a trip to the newly minted Capital of Architecture, here are some famous feats you can’t miss.
The School of Visual Arts is a lesson in and of itself. What used to be a private mansion is now a sprawling estate that’s also played host to notable cultural events like the “Rock Brasil” series of shows.
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
For peak 20th-century modernism, head to this UFO-looking building constructed in 1996 by Oscar Niemeyer.
Largo do Boticário
Color-obsessed travelers will want to hit up this rainbow-hued square ASAP. Neoclassical homes, each painted in a different shade, were once the scene of the parties of Rio’s elite and even though they’re slightly decrepit now, they’re still stunning.
Another futuristic-looking space, this one’s a science museum. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, it juts out onto the Pier Maua and its exterior is just as noteworthy as the interior.
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