ARCHITECTS + MUSIC | 3 :: »The Samba of the Architect« ::: Niemeyer’s Sambódromo Makeover for Rio’s Olympics

Oscar Niemeyer’s relationship with the samba goes back nearly half a century.

In 1956, for example, he designed the sets for the stage production of Orfeu da Conceição (Black Orpheus) — the first collaboration between Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes.

PHOTO > José Medeiros SOURCE > Instituto Moreira Salles

Oscar Niemeyer, Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, and his wife Lila Bôscoli behind the scenes of the premiere of Orfeu da Conceição at the Cinelândia Municipal Theatre, Rio de Janeiro, 1956.

Then, in 1962, he tried composing his own samba, The Samba of the Architect/Samba do arquiteto (previous post, below).

He is also the designer of Rio’s Sambódromo or Sambadrome, a rather bizarre 700-metre-long complex of viewing stands that occupy a major chunk of central Rio real estate next to Favela Baronesa. It sits empty and rather forlorn looking most of the year.

But, in true Oscar fashion, teems of schoolchildren receive an education in classrooms built into the complex.

Here’s a slice of history:

Rio’s Sambódromo

When the Samba Parade became too big and Samba Schools needed a more professional site, Governor Leonel Brizola hired Brazil’s most prominent architect, Oscar Niemeyer. In 110 days he built the Sambadrome.

The Sambódromo opened in On 2 March 1984 (Mangueira Samba School won that year). The structure is officially named Passarela do Samba Darcy Ribeiro, and it is the permanent home of the Samba Parade.

The Sambódromo has several independent concrete structures on both sides of Marquês de Sapucaí Avenue. A few days before Carnaval starts, the street is painted white and turned into the samba runway (the passarela). It ends at Apotheosis Square. When Carnival takes over, the Sambódromo becomes the greatest show on earth.

Rio Bookings




About the Carnaval, Niemeyer said: “The samba school should serve as a vehicle of protest, to sing the aspirations of poor people.”




It was announced yesterday — the day before the architect’s 103rd birthday — that the Sambódromo is due for a major makeover (or “plastica,” as the women of Brazil like to say) in time for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.

The renovations will cost $18 million and increase seating by 15,000 (the Sambódromo opened in 1984 with seating for 60,000 spectators).

During the games, it will be the venue for archery as well as the starting point for the marathon.

A great image for Rio’s Olympics by Gutuu

FOTO > Michael Baldwin, Widipedia > Click to enlarge

Deutsche Presse-Agentur via m&c | Rio’s Sambadrome to be made larger for Olympics

Rio Bookings | Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome

Oscar Niemeyer Obras | Letras e Artes | Circuit au Brésil pendant l’été austral en janvier 2007

A Tela da Reflexão | dia 25 de setembro na história

The Globe and Mail | Every Brazilian lives for Carnival (Carnaval 2011)