A Certain Brazilian Identity in the Itamaraty Palace

  • Abstract:

    The Itamaraty Palace, headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was conceived in the period between 1959 and 1970, after the inauguration of the new capital, Brasília (1960). Although Brazil was living a political and economic crisis at that period, the construction of the building was executed as originally planned in the architectural project. It is considered a model of modern Brazilian architecture due to its integration with urbanism, architecture, landscaping, furniture design and oeuvres. Among those involved, we can highlight important names of Brazilian material production, such as Oscar Niemeyer, Burle Marx, Sergio Rodrigues, Maria Martins, among others. The building’s main program, elaborated by the ambassador Wladimir Murtinho, refers to the creation of internal environments which allowed the development of the international diplomatic ceremonial. Nevertheless, the narrative of a modern Brazilian identity is articulated in the formal conception and space solution of the building, provided by the communication capacity established through the material history of Brazilian culture – colonial to modern. In this way, we intend to reflect on the material culture and its communicative use in the elaboration of a concept of identity desired by the Brazilian diplomatic corps of this period. The translation into materiality of an image of modern Brazil inserted in an international context is presented by the promenade architecturale in the palace that, in a certain way, becomes a museum with political intentions, due to the institutional character of the building. Finally, we will try to reflect on the Itamaraty Palace under the conception of modern architecture which is associated with the representation of a national identity in Brazil.