When the Ukrainian architect Gregori Warchavchik designed Parque Modernista in the 1920s, he was attempting to create a new kind of building: a house that was simultaneously international and Brazilian. Because of this architectural approach, it is regarded as the country’s first modern construction—despite the fact that it bears little resemblance to the work of Warchavchik’s contemporaries in Europe.
This pioneer wrote the manifesto for modern architecture in Brazil and personally fostered its development: after the house’s inauguration in 1928, he gathered a far-reaching circle of artists and intellectuals around him by hosting exhibitions, concerts and parties at his unique house.
The recently restored Parque Modernista is still surrounded by the lush tropical garden originally designed by Warchavchik’s wife, Mina Klabin Segall. Any visit should include a stop at the Museu Lasar Segall, some blocks away on the corner of Rua Afonso Celso and Rua Berta. This second Warchavchik house—built for his artist brother-in-law—is now a small but interesting museum. Rua Berta also features a stretch of Warchavchik’s economic housing, a key element in both the history of the neighbourhood of Vila Mariana and the evolution of Brazilian architecture.
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