This morning, when I opened Google, the topic for this Friday’s post just popped into my head. Without even running the mouse over the special Google header, I knew the topic before me. Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) Brasilian landscape architect and artist. Born in São Paulo on August 4, 1909 to German parents, the look that so marks Brasil as Brasilian; the wavy black and white sidewalks of Copacabana, the gardens that circle the Lagoa, the gardens that runs along the Aterro do Flamengo to Parque Brg. Eduardo Gomes can all be attributed to Burle Marx’s genius in designing beautiful spaces.
“.... Burle Marx's first landscaping inspirations came while studying painting in Germany, where he often visited the Dahlem Botanical Gardens and first learned about Brazil's native flora. Upon returning to Brazil in 1930, he began collecting plants in and around his home. He went to school at the National School of Fine Arts in Rio in 1930 where he focused on visual arts under Leo Putz and Candido Portinari. While in school he associated with several of Brazil’s future leaders in architecture and botanists who continued to be of significant influence in his personal and professional life. One of these men was his professor, Brazilian Modernism’s Lucio Costa, the architect and planner who lived down the street from Burle. This game, the Schwartz house was the beginning of a collaboration with Costa which was enriched later by Oscar Niemeyer who designed the Brazilian Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Niemeyer also designed the Pampulha complex in 1942 which Marx designed gardens for.
In 1949 he acquired the 365,000m² estate Barra de Guaratiba (just outside of Rio de Janeiro). Burle Marx began taking expeditions into the Brazilian rain forest with botanists, landscape architects, architects and other researchers to gather plant specimens. He learned to practice studying plants in situ from the botanist Henrique Lahmeyer de Mello Barreto and established his garden, nursery and tropical plant collection at Guaratiba. This property was donated to the Brazilian government in 1985 and became a national monument. Now called Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, under the direction of IPHAN-Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional / Ministério da Cultura, it houses over 3,500 species of plants. The house was rebuilt in a valley on the site of a garden house belonging to the original plantation estate....” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Burle_Marx)
At the beginning of this year, Camillo and I spent about half a day visiting the Burle Marx sitio, and for me the best way to show his gardens is to show you a few of my photos from that day. ... I am so bad, trying to pick what to show and what not to.... so I created a slide show for you to walk with me through the gardens, a cultivated garden with a feel of the wild.