Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

MoMA does Latin American architecture

A late 1950s church by Eladio Dieste in Uruguay (Leonardo Finotti / MoMA)

Carolina Miranda, who writes a terrific and wide-ranging culture blog for the Los Angeles Times with recent posts on Chilean modern and contemporary architecture, invited me for an email chat on “Latin America in Construction.”

“Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-80” looks at a quarter-century of Modernist architecture on the continent, from experimental housing projects on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, to the epic undertaking that was the design and construction of Brasilia, which emerged from the savanna like a Modernist sci-fi mirage. There are thought experiments (poetic architecture, anyone?), historic models, park design, affordable housing developments, vintage construction photos and schematics for buildings that are all about color.

Needless to say, there is a lot to see. Which is why rather than tackling this on my own, I invited architecture critic Alexandra Lange to chat with me about the show. Lange writes for the New Yorker and the New York Times and recently joined Curbed, where she is doing some awesome stuff. Better yet, she recently reviewed “Latin America in Construction” for Architect magazine.

Carolina Miranda: This is a dense show, with more than 500 objects, including models, drawings, renderings, photographs, video and more. As you point out in your Architect magazine review, it is “a remarkable collection of everything you could call Modernism — diagrid skyscrapers, abstract landscapes, megastructures, cities of slabs.” But as in any show, no matter how cluttered, there are always going to be pieces that pop.