'Concrete Dreams'

John Hill
18. August 2020
Photo: Screenshot

Skateboarders Murilo Peres and Pedro Barros — with a lot of help from Red Bull and the estate of Oscar Niemeyer — were granted permission to skateboard in, under, and atop thirteen of Niemeyer's buildings in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and other parts of Brazil.

There's an obvious synergy between the forms of Niemeyer's buildings, such as the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum pictured above, and the excitement skateboarders get when encountering settings that are fluid but also challenging. Or as it's worded on the website of Red Bull, "a lot of his buildings [are] absolutely next-level banging to skate."

The 16-minute film Concrete Dreams follows the pair of skateboarders from building to building, showing how they engage with the fluidity of Niemeyer's concrete surfaces. What would seem to be more appealing for skateboarders than architects to watch is very much a reciprocal lesson: skateboarders will learn about architecture while architects will learn a bit about skateboarding. Niemeyer, it seems, knew a lot about both.

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