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Talk on clinker at Veretec 2022
Talks at Veretec

Postcard, Brasilia, date unknown c. 1960s
BBC: The Inquiry
BBC World Service 2019

Itapoã, DF Brazil photograph © Joana França 2011
Brasília: Life Beyond Utopia
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2016

Brasilia, DF Brazil photograph © Joana França 2011
Brasília: Life Beyond Utopia
Architectural Design [April 2016]

McAslan Gallery: Emerging Architects
Two exhibitions for the McAslan Gallery
McAslan Gallery 2016

Edzell Castle, Angus
Edzell Castle: Architectural Treatises in Late 16th Century Scotland
Garden History Society 2014

Architecture and the Humanities
Architectural Research Quarterly 2014

Rio: Canal do Mangue Postcard
Urban Planning in Rio 1870-1930: the Construction of Modernity
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2014

London Tower Block
Review of Remaking London: Design and Regeneration in Urban Culture
Architectural Research Quarterly 2013

Oscar Niemeyer: House in Canoas, Rio de Janeiro
Life's a Beach: Oscar Niemeyer, Landscape and Women
The Rest is Noise Festival
South Bank, London 6 October 2013

Brasilia Tres Poderes
BBC: Last Word
BBC Radio 4 7 & 9 December 2012

Brasilia Tres Poderes
Brasilia: Fictions and Illusions
Brazil Institute, Kings College London 2012

Nolli Plan of Rome
Connected Communities Symposium
University of Dundee 2011

Arup: White Building, St John's College Oxford
Architecture + ESI: an architect's perspective
FESI [The UK Forum for Engineering Structural Integrity] 2011

Booth Poverty Map of London
Review of Mapping London
Architectural Research Quarterly 2010

Thmoas Deckker: superquadra penthouse project
Superquadra Penthouse Project
Penthouse Living
[Wiley 2005]

RIAS: landworkers exhibition
Dundee Contemporary Arts
14-28 May 2009

Antonio Carlos Elias: Epulis Fissuratum
The Studio of Antonio Carlos Elias
Epulis Fissuratum [Brasília 2006]

Thomas Deckker: superquadra penthouse project
Superquadra Penthouse Project
Penthouse Living
[Wiley 2005]

Arquivo Brasilia
Arquivo Brasília
Sala Martins Penna
Teatro Nacional Cláudio Santoro
19-20 April 2005

Revisiting Brazil: View of Exhibition
Revisiting Brazil
RIBA Gallery 2
9-30 October 2003

Houston Car Park
Urban Entropies: A Tale of Three Cities
Architectural Design [September 2003]

Guedes Apartment, São Paulo
New Architecture in Brazil - Photographs by Michael Frantzis
Brazilian Embassy, London
5-6 March 2003

Joaquim Gudes: Kerti House, São Paulo
Natural Spirit (Places to Live 007)
Wallpaper* [January/February 2003]

Wallpaper*: Architects Directory
Architects Directory
Wallpaper* [July/August 2002]

RIBA Journal: Foreign Legion
Foreign Legion
RIBA Journal [March 2002]

Le Corbusier: Heidi Weber Pavilion, Zurich photograph © Thomas Deckker 1996
Architects and Technology
The Encyclopaedia of Architectural Technology [London: Wiley 2002]

Mission Concepcion (1755) San Antonio, Texas
Mexican-American Architecture
Mexican-American Encyclopaedia [2002]

W3 Brasilia 1960s Archive Photograph
Canberra / Brasília
Canberra Contemporary Art Space [Canberra: CASC 2001]

Oscar Niemeyer: Congresso Naçional Brasília
In the Realm of the Senses
Architectural Design [July 2001]

Thomas Deckker: Magalhães House
Thomas Deckker: Two Projects in Brasília
Architectural Design [Oct 2000]

Degree Unit G: Mexico 1997-98
First International Seminar on the Teaching of the Built Environment [SIEPAC]
University of São Paulo, Brazil
13-15 Sept 2000

Thomas Deckker: The Modern City Revisited
The Modern City Revisited
[London: Routledge 2000]

Thomas Deckker (editor): Issues in Architecture Art & Design
Issues in Architecture Art & Design
vol. 6 no. 1 [University of East London 2000]

Luigi Snozzi: Monte Carasso, Bellinzona photograph © Thomas Deckker 1982
The re-invention of the site
Relating Landscape to Architecture
[London: Routledge 1999]

The Modern City Revisted Conference
The Modern City Revisited
University of East London
27/28 Mar 1999

Luigi Snozzi: Kalman House, Locarno photograph © Thomas Deckker 1982
Monte Carasso: The re-invention of the site
Issues in Architecture Art & Design vol. 5 no. 2 [University of East London 1998]

Donald Judd: Chinati Foundation, Texas
Specific Objects / Specific Sites
Rethinking the Architecture / Landscape Relationship, University of East London,
26-28 Mar 1996

Herzog & deMeuron: Hebelstrasse Apartments, Basle
Herzog & deMeuron
Issues in Architecture Art & Design vol. 3 no. 2 [University of East London 1994]

RIBA Journal: Foreign Legion

Foreign Legion

RIBA Journal [March 2002]

➲ Magalhães House

Architect's Statement:

Dispense with any idea that Brasília is a city of Modern architecture. Those who can afford to live in 'executive' houses - derived from the latest soap operas - in suburbs around the lake. When I was commissioned to design a house for two doctors and their family in the lago sul, there was clearly going to be a cultural as well as a geographical distance to cover.

I had renovated some flats quite casually in the original superquadras for friends in 1995 - in reality stripping out later accretions to recover the original spaces - and started a project for the neglected superquadra blocks (see Architectural Design October 2000). My future clients thought they might like something better than the 'soap opera' houses without knowing exactly what, and I sketched out some possibilities (see the first project on a different site) and thought no more of it. In 1997 they contacted me with the strong desire to start work immediately.

All design work was undertaken in London, but supervision necessarily entailed numerous trips to Brazil - I rapidly became a VIP passenger on VARIG. The engineer, Eduardo Azambuja, was responsible for technical supervision of structure and services. There are no general contractors for work of this scale: all trades were organised as required. No written contracts were made; every decision was sealed with a handshake. The client employed a small staff directly - security, cook, general labourers and the wonderful and very ancient Pedro Silva as mestre-de-obras - master of works.

There is almost no construction infrastructure in Brasília - all except the most absolutely basic items come by lorry from Belo Horizonte (600km) or São Paulo (1000km). Pedro was in charge of the setting out (by string), level (by water tube) and measurement (by 1m folding wooden ruler). Complex detail drawings and specifications were not appropriate to the craft conditions, so details and finishes were developed by negotiation and prototype. While this was liberating, it also meant a great deal of uncertainty as to what materials could be found and even what tools were available.

Work proceeded at a reasonable pace until the house was inhabitable in 1999; the family then moved in to the incomplete and unfurnished house. From then on the interior fitting out proceeded very slowly, as the clients preferred to extend the construction time to suit their income rather than compromise the design. It took until September 2001 to reasonably complete the interior fitting out; some minor features, such as the deck and ladder for the swimming pool, are still incomplete. This extended process meant, inevitably, a lack of refinement in comparison with the earlier stages.

The massive construction, overhanging roofs, good ventilation and brise-soleils mean that the house is cool and quiet and the air conditioning is rarely used; hot water is by solar heating. These were all considered wildly eccentric until the recent energy crisis meant electricity was strictly rationed.

At the valedictory party in September, the client declared 'it was worth it'. An agreeable end to my Brazilian adventure, I thought.
Thomas Deckker
London 2003