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Chancery of Brazil

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1973, Olavo Redig de Campos. 3006 Massachusetts Ave. NW
  • (Photo by Andrew Hope)

The three-story floating gray glass box daringly cantilevered above a transparent lobby is actually suspended from roof trusses supported by a single row of interior columns. The elements of the structural system—the purity of its unbroken geometric form, dark monochromatic color, and regular but asymmetrical facade articulation by thin vertically and horizontally organized I-beams—are all canonical late modern architectural principles espoused and disseminated principally through the teachings and buildings of the German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His vision of an airy architecture where tectonic structure becomes decoration transformed American architecture from the 1940s through the 1970s. The international nature of modernism—expressive of new industrial materials, structural systems, and life-styles in opposition to regional or national traditions—espoused by Mies and others during its formative years in the early twentieth century is realized by the nationality of the chancery's architect, a native of Brazil and head of the Department of Building for the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, who worked in association with Hans-Ullrich Scharnberg, a German-trained architect who had a Washington architectural practice during the 1970s.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Chancery of Brazil", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 391-392.

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