An interesting study about architecture in Brazilian society suggests that our neocolonial architectonic model is a revival of the same model which rose in the beginning of XX Century. It firstly appeared as a reaction against the ecletism of European models - a search for the roots of Latin American values based in Iberian colonization and percolated by indigenous myths gathered to the life in manor house of slavery times (and glory) to define our autochthon culture. It was also an aesthetic language impregnated by the progress and wealth mentality of the old sugar mills owners and showed characters of strong prejudice and racism. Or, paradoxally, it was an anti-modern way to be opulent in a progressist world.
But Modernist movement came not only as Anthropophagous (digesting and transmutting the different bases of Brazilian origins). Gauche spirit just can't be tamed by ideologies - quite the contrary. Then, in the beginning 60s Tom Zé translated the Brazilian perception of progress with a joking music called "Ramp to the Failure", to be presented in a show of talents called "Stairs to Success", famous at Bahia. Oh! He built his career in Brazil to the world starting at that spectacular last degree of the ramp!
Brasilia (with The Planalto Palace Ramp of ramps!) have rose with new models of construction in the heart of Brazil, until then an unexplored place. So it was determined to reflect the new ideals of progress by Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, staring at the future from the middle of nothing where nowadays bizarre sects raise and die waiting for UFOs. Planned for the future, the construction had the purpose of being representative of a new model of development - "50 years in 5" was the slogan. People adopted the new ideal and aesthetic language in public and private spaces... Once I was told that the Politechnic Center of UFPR had that bad feeling because it was formerly planned to be a prison (heheh, alumni...). Anyway, the Rectory buildings had ramps and felt likewise as good as prison.
Somehow 50 years of development in 5 was too fast for us to aprehend an already surpassed model of progress. Somehow our mixed styles of historic development now appears in the poor houses in which the structure are a gather of simple and rectilinear modern "box style" with (neo)colonial windows and doors - many times without a garden or a yard to make the house feel like part of a farm. It's a reinvention of ecletic mixture of the best of different expressions in architecture - but a frankenbuilding, revealing the last of old traditional values in the wish to show prosperity of manor houses squeezed in urban spaces. It's a construction of delusion.
People like boxes to tame our gauche horizon, but it needs some romantic halo to assure the certainty of being in the right path to progress, ahn?
Then our neo-colonial-imperialist pirate windows vista soon will open telling of illegal operation that will close the Guanabara Bay. Neocolonial landscapes are fastly being replaced by more and more coke cans. Soon we'll remember dancing people from everywhere vibing to the sound of recycled pot in Rio +20, moving around their Radio Head of Fake Plastic Trees. Our illegal windows operation will open the can lid for the box of green horizons of progress. To us all.
(Photo from a house in Bangu, Rio de Janeiro. For sale at www.vivastreet.com.br)