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Brazil: MAC Niemeyer Museum

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MAC Niemeyer Museum | Brazil | Americas

[Visited: January 2005]

On a cloudy day in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to leave this sunloving city behind and visit the MAC or Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Niteroi, on the other side of Guanabara bay. Instead of taking a direct bus, I went to the centre of Rio de Janeiro, walked to the quay, and took a boat across. During the ride, the boat comes close to the runway of Santos Dumont airport, and I saw a plane just before touch down, flying over the sea and our boat - a great sight.

Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC building in Niteroi seen from a distance

On the other side of the bay, in Niteroi, a bus took me to the other side of town, from where it was a short walk uphill to the museum. Already from a distance, its unusual forms excited me. It looked like a UFO, just landed on one of the cliffs of the shores of Guanabara bay. It was a Monday, and I knew that the museum itself was closed, but even then, I wanted to see the building - for me, it was the first time to go to a museum knowing that it would be closed, just to see the museum from the outside. Fortunately, it was possible to enter the area around the building.

Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, designed by Oscar Niemeyer: curves of the building

Work started in 1991 and the museum was finally finished in 1996. The architect is the world famous Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect with many buildings around the world on his name. The MAC is built on a cliff in Niteroi, and since space is limited, Niemeyer's solution was to design the building in such a way that it seems to come out of the ground. In his own words, the building stand out like a flower in space. He managed to keep the views all around free to enjoy. The water basin below the building gives a new dimension, as do the reflections in the dark windows, breaking the panorama around the building into pieces.

Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, by Oscar Niemeyer, seen through the fence
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, by Oscar Niemeyer: undulated forms are crucial elements
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, Niteroi: building and the stairs leading up to it
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, designed by Oscar Niemeyer: stairs leading into the museum
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, Niteroi, beach reflected into its windows
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, by Oscar Niemeyer: skyline of Niteroi seen from behind the building
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, by Oscar Niemeyer: Guanabara bay and mountains seen from behind the building
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, Niteroi: reflection of panorama in its windows
Picture of MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil): MAC, Niteroi: reflection of panorama in its windows

Around the World in 80 Clicks

Personal travel impressions both in words and images from MAC Niemeyer Museum (Brazil). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to MAC Niemeyer Museum.
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