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Joao Filgueiras Lima - Lelé in front of the Hospital Rede Sarah Kubitschek, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: 2008 Moscow/Revista AU
The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) presents an overview of the work of Brazilian architect João Filgueiras Lima – better known as Lelé. The exhibition opens on 26 October 2012. Lelé began his career working on the new Brazilian capital Brasília. He combines a keen eye for functionality and construction with a tireless commitment to improving social problems. Max Risselada (Delft University of Technology), Giancarlo Latorraca (Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo) and Jorn Konijn (NAi) curated the exhibition. Similar to the exhibition about architect Louis Kahn, which is also on view at the NAI this autumn, the story of Lelé celebrates Love for Architecture.
Under the title Lelé – Architect of Health and Happiness the architect takes visitors on an odyssey of the various buildings he has designed since the 1960s. Comments and quotations from Lelé himself shed light on his personal history. The exhibition also takes a close look at the hospitals and pedestrian walkways and accesses he designed to improve access to the favelas. The exhibition ends with a chronological survey of Lelé’s work, which has always been fuelled by the desire to create happiness and health.
Lelé’s career began in the late 1950s when he worked with master architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa on designs for the new Brazilian capital Brasília. The architects were commissioned with creating a grand, utopian city with very few resources. Lelé designed factories to mass-produce the majority of the buildings – it was a cost-effective way of providing rapidly growing Brazil with the vast amount of good quality buildings it needed.
However, the impact of Lelé’s work extends far beyond the development of new production methods. He experimented with ground-breaking constructions, and inventive designs that minimized the energy consumption of his buildings. Lelé realised buildings in numerous cities throughout Brazil. Today, creativity and an ingenious use of materials and constructions remain at the heart of his architectural vision. With his pioneering approach, Lelé paved the way for modern building methods in Brazil, and has played a vital role in shaping his nation’s development.
Lelé – Architect of Health and Happiness is an exhibition by the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology, Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo and the Netherlands Architecture Institute. The exhibition opens on 26 October 2012 and runs until 3 February 2013 at the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. For more information, please visit en.nai.nl/lele.
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