Modern Architecture in Brazil, December 2012 Rare Book of the Month

December Rare Book of the Month

Modern Architecture in Brazil by Henrique E. Mindlin

Published by The Architectural Press, London 1956.

With the very recent news of the death of Oscar Niemeyer it seemed a good moment to take a look at this book which declares itself to be the “first full-scale attempt to show modern Brazilian architecture in all its aspects”. Published in 1956, it showcases Brazilian architecture from the late 1930s to the mid 1950s. Up to this point, new Brazilian architecture was not much known outside Brazil.

The Preface is written by renowned architecture critic and historian Professor Siegfried Giedion. Giedion notes Le Corbusier’s one month stay in Brazil in 1936 and comments that this visit, during which Le Corbusier worked with a group of young Brazilian architects, was of “outstanding importance” for the development of Brazilian architecture. Le Corbusier’s influence can be seen in the designs featured in this book, as can the influence of other modernist architects Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. Brazilian architects though have necessarily studied the phenomenon of sunlight and created all kinds of protective devices to cope with the Brazilian climate.

The author Henrique Mindlin was a Brazilian architect and discusses design problems from personal and professional experience. He discusses the work of seventy of his contemporaries, including Oscar Niemeyer who is best known for his Brazilian take on modernism when he design the new Brazilian capital city Brasilia. Each project is accompanied by photographs, plans and drawings.

Click here for The Guardian article regarding Oscar Niemeyer

This book is located in the Rare Book collection at UCA’s Canterbury campus library.

This book was reviewed by Richenda Gwilt, Librarian

More details about archives, special collections, and rare books can be seen here

Canterbury School of Architecture prospectus

Canterbury School of Architecture prospectus


Archive of the Month, December 2012 – Christmas Cards

Christmas cards designed by past students, 1991 – present

December’s Archive of the Month is a collection of Christmas cards created by our students.  These examples of modern design officially promoted The Kent Institute of Art & Design and later the University of Creative Arts, following a tradition for official Christmas cards started by Queen Victoria in the 1840s.  They gave students the opportunity to promote their talents and gain first-hand experience of fulfilling a commercial brief.

The collection includes two official Christmas cards for the Kent Institute of Art and Design.  The first is illustrated by Gary Jones, BA (Hons) Communication Media (July 1991) and was designed by David Hart BA (Hons).  This vibrant image, ‘Black Birds Whistle,’ uses a vast array of colours inspired by South America.


The second KIAD design, from 2004, boldly uses the barcode as its central theme.  The card cleverly combines a festive message while also making a sly comment on the season’s commerciality.  It was designed by Maxime Herr, BA (Hons) Graphic Design.

herr 4

Three designs within the collection were official UCA Christmas cards.  The first by Ruth Taylor, Foundation Studies in Art & Design at Rochester, layers images of fruit and the natural world in a rich colourful scheme.


The second UCA Christmas card by Heather Wheal, BTEC ND at Rochester, is a fun reworking of a familiar Kent seaside image.  The unexpected addition of a bright pink tree brilliantly contrasts with the black and white photograph.


The third UCA Christmas card was created by Lawrence Simpson, BA (Hons) Digital Screen Arts (2008), and designed by Melanie Ray, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication.  This glossy digital image alludes to the themes of light, the Star and the festive colour red.


These Christmas cards can be accessed at the library archives, Rochester Campus.  Other collections of Christmas cards include Queen Mary’s Collection at the British Museum, and the Word & Image department of the V&A which holds the first Christmas card by J. C. Horsley from 1843.

 This year, our Vice-Chancellor Dr Simon Ofield-Kerr lent his expertise to help judge a Christmas card competition for primary schools.  To read more, click here:

 These cards are accessible in Rochester

Reviewed by Lynsey Blandford, Library Advisor at Rochester