Burle Marx site, in Rio de Janeiro, becomes a World Heritage Site

Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, in Barra de Guaratiba, on the west side of Rio de Janeiro, was chosen as a World Heritage Site, in the cultural landscape category, by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco).

The site is the 23rd Brazilian property inscribed on the world heritage list. The choice was announced last Tuesday (27). There are 407 thousand square meters (m²) of forest area that houses a collection of more than 3.5 thousand species of tropical and subtropical plants.

In a social network, the site said that inclusion in the list of world heritages means that these goods so special to Brazil are also of “exceptional universal value” for humanity.

“World Heritage is of fundamental importance for the memory, identity and creativity of peoples and the richness of cultures, seeking to promote the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage across the planet,” added the text.

For the space’s director, Claudia Storino, Sítio Roberto Burle Marx is certainly a work of art, where landscapes are the most prominent element, linking the whole set with a powerful personality.

“The gardened spaces of the site materialize both the landscaping principles of the work of Burle Marx and the processes of analysis, cultivation and experimentation that drove the creation of modern tropical landscaping”, stated Claudia, in a note.


The former Sítio Santo Antônio da Bica, acquired in 1949 by Roberto Burle Marx and his brother, Guilherme Siegfried, started what is now the Sítio Burle Marx. The place stands out for its native vegetation, formed mainly by mangroves, restinga and the Atlantic Forest, preserved by the Pedra Branca State Park. The brothers later bought other land that was attached to the site.

Park has 407,000 square meters (m²) of forest area and houses a collection of more than 3,500 species of tropical and subtropical plants / Tânia Rêgo/ABr

The space underwent interventions to be transformed into the laboratory intended by Burle Marx. In 1985, the landscaper donated the site to the Federal Government, in order to ensure the continuity of research, the dissemination of acquired knowledge and the sharing of that space with society. The National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (Iphan) started to manage the site in 1994, after the death of landscape artist Burle Max.

Gardens, plant nurseries, seven buildings and six lakes are part of the space, which also offers the public a museum collection of more than three thousand items, with collections of Cusco, pre-Columbian, sacred and Brazilian popular art, in addition to a collection of works from the landscaper and artist himself, which are already cataloged and computerized in an online system.

mock Marx

Roberto Burle Marx was also an artist, painter, sculptor, jewelry designer, costume designer, set designer, ceramist and tapestry maker. Born in São Paulo, he was raised in Rio de Janeiro, where he died on June 4, 1994.

With thousands of projects around the world, Burle Marx conceived landscapes that are prominent in the country and abroad, such as the gardens of Complexo da Pampulha, in 1942; the garden of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro, in 1954; the landscaping of Aterro do Flamengo, in 1961; the gardens of the UNESCO headquarters in Paris; and the famous line of the Copacabana sidewalk, in 1970, among others.

He introduced modernist landscaping in Brazil and was one of the first landscapers to use native Brazilian plants in his projects. He was also one of the environmentalist pioneers to claim the conservation of tropical forests in Brazil, having organized many expeditions and excursions through the national biomes, where he discovered more than 30 new species of plants that bear his name.

The first public garden project conceived by Burle Marx was Praça de Casa Forte, in Recife, in 1934. In 1961, he also designed the landscaping for the Monumental Axis of Brasília and, in 1968, he designed the landscaping for the Embassy of Brazil in Washington , in the United States.

Internationally known as one of the most important landscapers of the 20th century, Roberto Burle Marx lived on the site between 1973 and 1994. He gathered plants from different parts of the world on the property, some even at risk of extinction.


The list of Brazilian cultural heritages recognized by Unesco includes Brasília (DF), Cais do Valongo (RJ), Historic Center of Goiás (GO), Historic Center of Diamantina (MG), Historic Center of Ouro Preto (MG), Historic Center de Olinda (PE), Historic Center of São Luís (MA), Historic Center of Salvador (BA), Conjunto Moderno da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (MG), Jesuit Missions Guaranis (RS), ruins of São Miguel das Missões (RS) ), Serra da Capivara National Park (PI), Praça São Francisco (SE), Rio landscapes between the mountain and the sea (RJ) and the Bom Jesus de Matozinhos Sanctuary (MG).

In Brazil, the Pantanal Protected Areas Complex (MT and MS), the Central Amazon Conservation Complex (AM), the Discovery Coast – Atlantic Forest Reserves (BA and ES), Atlantic Islands – Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas (PE and RN), Iguaçu National Park (PR), Atlantic Forest Reserves (PR and SP), Cerrado Reserves and Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks (GO).

The 22nd national property recognized as a mixed world heritage of culture and biodiversity is the group of localities of Paraty and Ilha Grande, on the Costa Verde in Rio de Janeiro.

* With information from Agência Brasil

Source: BoF Rio de Janeiro

Edition: Eduardo Miranda

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