ARCHITECTS | Aquário para Búzios Aquarium :: Oscar Niemeyer’s First Post-103rd-Birthday Project (+ Ooh La La Bardot + Warhol)

Oscar Niemeyer, Caíque (his great-grandson), and the Mayor of Búzios, Mirinho Braga

With less than a week to recuperate from all of the hoopla attending his 103rd birthday, Oscar Niemeyer was back at work Monday 20 December 2010 to announce his latest project.

It’s — what else? —another dome, but this time, a partiallysubmerged dome, a world first.

In a meeting held in Niemeyer’s Avenida Atlantíca office in Rio, the mayor of Búzios, Mirinho Braga, met Brazil’s masterarchitect to discuss the project.

The Búzios Aquarium, which will be submerged somewhere in the sea near Búzios (another great Brazilian place-name!), will give visitors the impression of being on the ocean floor.

It will be part of a complex that includes a university of oceanography and a marine research center, funded by private initiative.

That bit about the aquário not costing the state any R$ didn’t stop the online pundits — from Brazil — from giving their thumbs down to this latest Niemeyer (see the skyscrapercity link, below).




According to the architect, the project will take visitors to a large hall surrounded by a huge aquarium, giving them the impression of being on the seabed. A descending ramp encircling the tanks will give visitors unique perspectives on the captive specimens.

(Sounds like a submerged Guggenheim — the original, in NYC — with fish as moving canvases).

PHOTOS >  crowbert, Flickr

Andy Warhol Jellyfish PHOTO > Alёna, Flickr

It could be a really cool space or an environmental disaster if the engineering isn’t done correctly. (Fortunately, Niemeyer has the incredible José Carlos Sussekind as his structural engineer. This is the man who makes Niemeyer’s creations real.)

The idea to build the aquarium was the idea of Niemeyer’s great-grandson (and architect) Caíque, a frequent visitor to Búzios.

According to him, the aquarium and related projects will mean the city won’t have to rely on Búzios’s famous beaches as the town’s sole tourist attraction.

Those beaches were made famous in ’64 by La Bardot, who decamped to Búzios in an attempt to escape the paparazzi in Rio during her sojourn down-under.

And it was a tiny fishing village with a few homes when again, in 1964, the French paid a visit.

Actress Brigitte Bardot, near the prime of her career, arrived in Rio in January of 1964 to enjoy time with her Brazilian boyfriend Bob Zagury. Bardot couldn’t even venture outside Zagury’s oceanside apartment because of the paparazzi. She had almost decided to simply fly back to Paris when she came up with a plan she hoped the media would agree to.

Her plan was to let Zagury’s friend, French photographer Denis Albanèse, who had been living in Rio for about ten years, document Bardot’s vacation in Brazil and simply share the photos with the press if they agreed not to hound her. The plan worked [see his photo, below].

A thrilled Bardot was able to venture out in Rio, incognito, wearing a coat and black wig. But days later, they piloted Zagury’s yacht to beautiful Angra do Reis and eventually north to Búzios. No need to travel in disguise, Brigitte Bardot walked the beaches of Búzios and enjoyed it so much she stayed until mid-April.


Brigitte Bardot in Búzios, 1964 PHOTOS > Denis Albanèse

Brigitte Bardot with Bob Zagury, her Brazilian boyfriend, in Búzios, 1964

Mayor Braga hopes that the “Niemeyer Effect” will make an impact on Búzio’s economy and said that he wanted to have a personal hand in finding the proper place for the complex.

During the get-together in Rio, the mayor was presented with the latest edition of Niemeyer’s publication, Our Way, which includes comments about Búzios from the project’s architect.

O Globo (the source for most of this story) also reported that architect and urban planner Mauricio Pinheiro said aquariums are big tourist attractions overseas (he’s right). He also evoked the “Niemeyer Effect” by adding that Niemeyer is part of the architectural history of Brazil and the world.




Meanwhile, the statue of Brigitte in Búzios is too ugly and, well, just too weird, for designKULTUR (Google Image “Bardot Búzios” if you can’t resist). She did, however, firmly place exotic-sounding Búzios on the jetsetter map, and for that we’ll give her credit.

The statue may be grotesque (maybe it’s just the idea of a statue that I find weird), but the proposed aquarium is an essay in elegance that, if built, would give Búzios an »Efeito Niemeyer« that would most likely surpass »L’effet Bardot« of the 1960s and ’70s.

The Bardot Neckline

The Bikini

Le chignon choucroute ’60s

Gingham …

… because her wedding dress to second husband Jacques Charrier was made from pink gingham (WTF?)

St. Tropez

and Ooh la la …

ANDY WARHOL (1923-2004)
Brigitte Bardot, 1974
synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen inks on canvas, 120 x 120 cm

Warhol painted a series of eight »Brigitte Bardots« (based on a 1959 Richard Avedon photo) in 1974, the year after Bardot announced that she was retiring from acting at age 39 because it was “a way to get out elegantly.”

The Bardot directly above sold at Christie’s New York on 9 May 2006 for $3,040,000. The Avedon below sold at Christie’s New York on 10 April 2008 for $181,000. Wonder if she still has her copies or if they’ve been sold to aid her animal rights and anti-immigration crusades?

RICHARD AVEDON (1923-2004)
Brigitte Bardot, 1959
gelatin silver print, printed later
58.4 x 55 cm

Richard Avedon perfectly captured her very particular seductive appeal in this study made in Paris in January 1959. Avedon’s exposure gives the image a shimmer of movement, while his high key print bleaches her skin to throw her features into even greater prominence. It is hardly surprising that this stylised and striking portrait, with its abstracted emphasis on the iconography of her look, should be the one selected some years later by Andy Warhol as the basis for his silkscreen portraits of Bardot. In appropriating Avedon’s original image, Warhol — ever sensitive to the qualities that make a photograph peculiarly compelling —paid the photographer the most precious of compliments.

– Christie’s New York | Niemeyer aquarium project delivery in Buzios

comunicabúzios | Mayor receives Buzios architect Oscar Niemeyer’s project Aquarius City

skyscrapercity | [Búzios, Rio de Janeiro] Aquário de Búzios

búziosnews | Brigitte Bardot enjoyed open-air market in Ipanema and posed for photos of Denis | Brigitte Bardot spends the summer in Búzios

buziostravel |A Little Piece of History

Christie’s New York | Richard Avedon: Brigitte Bardot, 1959

Christie’s New York | Andy Warhol, Brigitte Bardot, 1974

Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals | Home Page | French Sex Symbol Collabs for Eco Bags

Vanity Fair | The Bardot Variations PDF