Hotel Nacional Rio De Janeiro

VOA Brazil wins competition to design retrofit for the iconic Rio De Janeiro hotel designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

Hotel Nacional (The National Hotel) in Rio de Janeiro, along with the Copacabana Palace and Gloria Hotel, is among Brazil’s most recognizable hospitality buildings. Hotel Nacional was designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the late ’60s. He originally planned 55 floors for the building, but the owner of the Horsa Hotels network, entrepreneur Jose Tjurs, preferred to build only 34. Hotel Nacional opened in 1972.


Original “Hotel Horsas Brasil” logo

The sleek modernist glass, aluminum and concrete building in the beachfront neighborhood of São Conrado housed a convention center for 2,800 people and a theater for approximately 1,400 spectators where artists such as Liza Minnelli, BB King, Chet Baker and James Brown have performed. It featured five restaurants, helicopter air taxi service from its helipad and original artwork and sculpture. In the 1980s, it hosted the Rio Film Festival. Considered the most modern hotel in Latin America when it opened, it quickly became a Brazilian design icon. The building closed in 1995. In recognition of the significance of its architectural and historical components, the building officially joined Rio’s heritage list in 1998.


Hotel Nacional Rio LP cover

In January, VOA Brazil won the competition to design the retrofit of the entire building. VOA is challenged to respect the original design intent and preserve some of the original interior elements while creating a modern hotel with contemporary amenities. The detailed renovation project will involve contractor consultations with engineer Bruno Contarini, the structural designer who participated in the original construction of the building. VOA’s design efforts will include the restoration of art works by renowned artists including the “Mermaid” sculpture by Alfredo Ceschiatti, the Carybé panel and the suspended sculpture by Pedro Corrêa de Araújo.

Look for more updates on Hotel Nacional on the VOA blog.

For U.S. press inquiries, contact Theresa Gorman,

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