Wednesday, September 12, 2007

when german spheres land in brazil...


my one "free" day in porto alegre, i visited the expointer, which is a fairgrounds spotlighting agriculture of the rio grande do sul area of brazil. i expected the gouchos, animals, farm displays, etc.; but i was totally unprepared for the architectural surprise pictured above.

these three painted metal spheres (the colors are related to the rio grande do sul flag) are actually large rooms that one can go inside of, and they are connected by two small pedestrian bridges forming a path from green to yellow, and through red.

seeing that the spheres were a gift to brazil from germany in 1974, their relationship to 70's utopian architectural experiments (such as the work of haus rucker, archigram, superstudio, or the 60's expo experiments of charles eames, bucky fuller, etc.) makes sense; but they certainly have an uncanny presense in the current landscape of the outskirts of porto alegre.

it's always interesting to see what happens to these things, once their experimental moment has passed. there was something wonderful about the once cutting edge exteriors being filled with small craft booths and people selling things made of yarn, handmade dolls, etc. via an assortment of makeshift tables. it would be nice to think that disney hall might have the same fate one day, for this interior felt humbled, taken over by humans, and still somehow a container of dreams.

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