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Another one of South America’s hidden gems has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pampulha Modern Ensemble, designed by Oscar Niemeyer is now among UNESCO’s most recent additions to the World Heritage List, as both a World Heritage Site and cultural landscape.

History of Pampulha Modern Ensemble

In Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais State, the Pampulha Modern Ensemble rests. Developed in 1940, when Oscar Niemeyer was 33 years old, the purpose of the design was to build a suburban neighborhood around the existing artificial lake. Today, it is a symbol of one of the first significant examples of modernism in Brazil.

Pampulha Modern Ensemble: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Read more >> Historic Tour to Belo Horizonte and Ouro Preto 

The Complex

The Pampulha complex includes four main buildings: a casino, a ballroom, a Yacht and golf club and a church. Each building brought something special to the community. The casino and the ballroom were used for many fun social engagements. The yacht and golf club offered guests exercise activities and sports, and the church provided guests with a religious atmosphere. Each building was designed by Niemeyer, with the help of other innovative artists. The ensemble reflects the unity of modern, 20th-century architecture with natural surroundings. The compound was intended to be seen as a symbol of Brazilian identity.

Today, the four main buildings have changed slightly from their original purpose. The casino is now the Pampulha art museum, the ballroom is now the Center of Reference for Urbanism, Architecture and Design, and the yacht and golf club are now a tennis yacht club. The Church remains quite similar to its original state.

Check out our Horizonte Historic Tour >> Recommended hotels in Belo Horizonte

Innovative Design

Each building represents some of the different design principles Niemeyer was so keen to using in his work. For example, his use of curved lines rather than straight and his use of reinforced concrete as a building material. Both of these were considered incredibly innovative at the time.

Pampulha Modern Ensemble: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Niemeyer’s use of incorporating 20th-century architecture remains a modern marvel. His combination of natural climate, local Brazilian traditions and sharp architecture transformed this compound into a visionary garden of futuristic design. 

Visit Now!

Many sites, cities, and centers in South America are declared UNESCO World Heritage status. Therefore, there is no better time to visit! Check out the Pampulha Modern Ensemble and Rio de Janeiro on your next trip to Brazil. After all, they have both made the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Read more >> Rio de Janeiro: Officially Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site 

Margo Lynott

Margo Lynott

Marketing Intern at SouthAmerica.travel
Margo was born and raised in Bellevue, Washington. She is currently a senior at Seattle University, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in International Business. With a desire to travel, she decided to leave Seattle and study abroad in Paris, France for a semester. During her time abroad, she went on weekend trips exploring England, Spain, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Margo has been a marketing intern for SouthAmerica.travel since July 2016. In September 2016, she will be going abroad again. This time to Argentina and Chile. She can't wait to share her experience when she comes back!
Margo Lynott
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