Palais de la Culture, Rio de Janeiro

Photo in the Public Domain.

Palais de la Culture, ancien siège du Ministere de l'Education et de la Santé, Rio de Janeiro is part of the Tentative list of Brazil in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.

What is now known as the Gustavo Capanema Palace was constructied in the late 1930’s as the first modernist Brazilian building. It was built by a group of architects after the design of Le Corbusier: standing on pillars and with a glass façade controlled by adjustable sun-shades. The gardens were laid out by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and included native plants of Brazil.

Map of Palais de la Culture, Rio de Janeiro

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The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.

Community Reviews

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Carlo Sarion

Philippines | New Zealand - 17-Feb-23 -

Palais de la Culture, Rio de Janeiro (T) by Carlo Sarion

Edificio Palacio Gustavo Capanema is a pioneering modernist building located in the heart of Rio De Janeiro. It is just a short stroll away from other interesting buildings around Centro, such as the Theatro Municipal, Fundaçao Biblioteca Nacional, and the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. As Walter said in his review, it is easily accessible by metro, and so I had no excuse not to check it out when I was in Rio in October 2022.

I visited the building on a rainy afternoon, which proved to be quite inconvenient as my visit coincided with the rush hour. Approaching the site from the Cinelandia metro station, I was greeted by a building that was fenced off by corrugated metal sheets, which were pretty much covered in graffiti. A signage installed at the northern side of the building says that it was still being renovated and “modernised”. While I was not expecting to see the interiors of each floor given the time of my visit, I was hoping to take a peek of the garden and get a full view of the stilt-like columns. I had to content myself with walking around the perimeter, which was helpful enough to appreciate the façade and the external structures of the building. Unfortunately, the only highlight I could share during my visit was the azulejos on the wall facing Avenida Graça Aranha (see photo). 

Though my visit was limited, I don’t expect this site to be inscribed soon given that Brazil’s celebrated modernist architects and landscapers have already been recognised through the inscription of Brasilia, Pampulha, and Sitio Roberto Burle Marx. Besides, its UNESCO WHS webpage does not talk much about its OUV. It'd be interesting to see if the State Party decides to make a case for it and put together a nomination dossier.


Switzerland - 15-Feb-19 -

Palais de la Culture, Rio de Janeiro (T) by Walter

Also called Edificio Gustavo Capanema, this edifice was built between 1937 and 1945, is a fine example of Brazilian modernist architecture. It is located in the center of Rio, it is a 3 minutes walk from Cînelandia metro station. It was designed by a team of well-known architects including Oscar Niemeyer with a supervision by Le Corbusier. The gardens, including a garden terrace, were designed by Burle Marx. Three years after completion, it was inscribed as an historical monument, thus preventing alteration the original design.
I visited the building in January 2019. It was still in renovation, with fences closing access to the building. Even though, most of the building features are visible, as it rests on ten-meter pilotis and has 16 floors of iron, concrete, marble, vertical glass, natural ventilation and lights. Some facade feature portuguese-style glazed tiles. The building was completely empty, without any offices or furniture in any of its floors.
Renovations are planned until 2020. The building will then host the World Congress of Architects, and Rio will be named « UNESCO World Capital of Architecture ». That could be an opportunity for inscription, but Brazil has another site planned for 2020.

Full Name
Palais de la Culture, ancien siège du Ministere de l'Education et de la Santé, Rio de Janeiro
Structure - Civic and Public Works
1996 Added to Tentative List

The site has 1 locations

Palais de la Culture, Rio de Janeiro: Palace of Culture. formerly Ministry of Education Health (T)
WHS 1997-2024