Catedral Metropolitana. Photograph by Mario Grisolli
Catedral Metropolitana. Photograph by Mario Grisolli

One thing not to miss in Rio de Janeiro

If you're visiting for the Olympics try and take in this Brutalist cathedral by architect Edgar Fonseca

If you’re lucky enough to be going to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics Games next month, remember to pack a copy of the Wallpaper* City Guide to Rio de Janeiro – a tightly edited, discreetly packaged list of the best a location has to offer the design-conscious traveller. Not only can you find out about all the best bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants, you can also discover beautiful works of local architecture, such as Catedral Metropolitana.

 

Catedral Metropolitana. Photograph by Mario Grisolli
Catedral Metropolitana. Photograph by Mario Grisolli

Opened in 1979 and 15 years in the making, the Catedral de São Sebastião, to give it its official name, soon became known as the Metropolitana. The design by Edgar Fonseca is all that Niemeyer’s uplifting cathedral in Brasilia is not. Cariocas have very little affection for this dark, brooding and, frankly, brutal concrete cone, which is associated with the era of the dictators. Visitors, free from such associations, see a great modern cathedral: four enormous curved latticed sides, linked by four 65m-high stained-glass windows and topped by an impressive translucent cross in the centre of a circular roof that measures 30m in diameter. That the church can hold a standing congregation of 20,000 gives some idea of the building’s scale. 

Avenida República do Chile 245, T 2240 2669, www.catedral.com.br

You can download the Wallpaper* City Guide to Rio de Janeiro here or buy the print version here. And if you'd like to see more Brutalist architecture take a look at the last few remaining copies of This Brutal World in the store now.