Brazilian Architecture —Aesthetic Possibilities of Reinforced Concrete
By Tim Hazell
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho (Oscar Niemeyer, December 15, 1907–December 5, 2012), is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city that became Brazil’s capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with Le Corbusier and other architects on the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City, Niemeyer’s creative preoccupation with the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly influential in movements throughout the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
His sculptural style of monumental abstract forms and curves, influenced in part by Le Corbusier, was both lauded and criticized during his long, celebrated career. Hailed as a great artist and one of the foremost architects of his generation by his supporters, the visionary had this to say in his memoirs about his passion for an organic approach to design that emanated from nature and the cosmos.
“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of a beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein.”
Brazil’s cuisine is steeped in tropical color and ethnic diversity, as are its moquecas of fish and shrimp.
Moqueca de Peixe—Brazilian Fish Stew
1-1/4 pounds sea bass, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 scallion chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
7 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. chopped coriander
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
1-1/2 cups fish stock or chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup canned hearts of palm, drained and diced
2 tomatoes, diced
Salt and black pepper
In a bowl, mix together half the scallions, onion, ginger, and garlic. Add four tablespoons of the olive oil, and half the coriander. Place chunks of fish in a plastic bag and add the marinade, pressing to evenly coat the fish. Place sealed bag in a shallow bowl and refrigerate for several hours. Add remaining three tablespoons of oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining scallions, onion, ginger, and garlic, cooking until translucent. Add green and yellow peppers. Cook until softened. Add stock, coconut milk, and tomato paste, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, adding the fish, marinade, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Partially cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and cook until fish is tender, about five minutes. Uncover the pan, add hearts of palm and tomatoes and allow to heat through. Taste and adjust the moqueca for seasonings. Serve, sprinkled with remaining fresh coriander.