Garden of the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Roberto Burle Marx was a renowned artist and landscape architect who achieved fame throughout his life for his appealing park and garden designs. In addition to his influence on tropical garden design, he is also credited with bringing the concepts of modernist landscape architecture to his home country of Brazil. In 1949, Marx became the owner of the Sítio de Santo Antonio da Bica, a large estate in the outskirts of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Over the years, he turned this land into his own personal garden and nursery; today, the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx is considered a Brazilian national monument.

Marx’s Approach to Landscaping

With the exception of some of Marx’s designs along the Copacabana and Flamengo beaches, much of his public work has been poorly maintained. However, the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx has been kept in pristine condition, offering a peek into this amazing landscape architect’s mind, even years after his death in 1994. Marx was an avid painter, and he saw the Earth as a canvas. His designs turned the landscapes he completed into living paintings through his botanical choices and the placement of plants and other elements.

Marx’s Private Estate

As Marx’s own private estate, the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx is perhaps the best example of his work. The grounds, which cover nearly 41 acres, house more than 3,500 species of plants collected during Marx’s expeditions into the Brazilian rainforests in search of new botanical wonders to incorporate into his designs. In addition to the gardens and nursery, the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx also contains five reflecting pools, seven buildings, and a museum collection that includes thousands of Marx’s artistic works, including sculptures, prints, drawings, and tapestries.

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