© Nelson Kon
Capanema Palace at risk
Letter from Kenneth Frampton to Docomomo

Docomomo International wishes to draw your attention for the ongoing fight to save the Capanema Palace, originally Ministry of Education and Health, later Ministry of Education and Culture, in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 1936-1945.

The alarming situation of the Capanema Palace is already a worldwide discussion. Kenneth Frampton, Emeritus Ware Professor of Architecture, by the Graduate School of Planning, Preservation & Architecture, Columbia University, wrote the following letter addressed to Docomomo International and Docomomo Brazil:

“Dear Ana Tostões, Docomomo lnternational Chair, and Renato Gama-Rosa Costa, Docomomo Brazil Chair,

It is hard to conceive of any Neoliberal event more barbaric than the peremptory decision to auction off the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro and l hope that both together and separately you will be able to make this letter of protest as widely known as possible in an effort to contribute to the level of public outrage that such barbarism necessarily requires.

This building, dating from 1936, is not only one of the most significant civic works to be achieved by the young Brazilian Modern Movement under the leadership of Lúcio Costa but it would also come to be associated by both its programmatic intent & design with equitable modernization of Brazilian society. Although the Ministry may have long since moved to Brasilia it still stands as a national symbol of the welfare of the society as a whole, both within Brazil and beyond.

With its meaningful & moving tiled murals by Cândido Portinari, its highly innovative adjustable brise soleil and its roof garden by Roberto Burle Marx it remains a synthetic work of the highest cultural caliber and as such ought to remain in the public domain in perpetuity. It is to be hoped that the government will reconsider its wantonly unjustifiable decision to sell the building into private ownership.

Yours sincerely
Kenneth Frampton”

The letter was published in the Vitruvius website.

To sign the petition and to read the previous news about this heritage in danger: here.