Landscape And Buildings: Crafting National Heritage

Thumbnail Image
Cortizo de Aguiar, Barbara
Associated Organization(s)
Organizational Unit
Organizational Unit
Supplementary to
In this paper, I discuss the role of architecture and cultural landscape in our continent’s national identity creation and nation-building processes. More specifically, I examine the creation of national heritage institutes in the United States and Brazil in the early 1900s to show how countries imagined their national identity through preservation endeavors and the built environment. As these processes might be understood through their territorial occupation, I argue that national heritage in the United States and Brazil were defined as landscapes and buildings, respectively. Looking at landscapes and buildings, I analyze how the National Park Service and the Serviço do Patrimônio Histórico Artístico Nacional were partially responsible for crafting the countries’ national identities by preserving a mostly white aspect of their histories. First, I explore the individual narrative of the National Park Service, seeking to understand how this agency defined the country’s notion of national heritage. I present the first events of historic preservation in the United States and discuss the general image of place and identity derived from those endeavors. I discuss the establishment of the first national parks and how that led to creating a bureau to manage and preserve the United States’ heritage. Second, I discuss the roles of historicism and architecture in shaping Brazilian national heritage from 1838 to 1938. I present the creation of the first memorialization offices in the nineteenth-century. Then, I show how this narrative changed in the twentieth century. Last, I argue that, by using architecture as a symbol of different historical periods in Brazil, it became a fundamental element in shaping the Brazilian heritage. Governments and national institutions decide what aspects will be excluded from their narrative by acclaiming certain events and celebrating them as heritage. With this premise in mind, I seek to understand how two different countries created two different foundation myths that have since been used to define national identity and values. I look at national heritage studies by discussing celebration and erasure in national heritage narratives.
Date Issued
Resource Type
Resource Subtype
Rights Statement
Rights URI