House of the Capão do Bispo Estate, House of the Viegas Estate, House of the Engenho d’Água Estate, House of the Taquara Estate, Colónia Juliano Moreira Aqueduct

House of the Capão do Bispo Estate, House of the Viegas Estate, House of the Engenho d’Água Estate, House of the Taquara Estate, Colónia Juliano Moreira Aqueduct

Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


After the foundation of Rio de Janeiro in the 16th century, the land in the city’s vicinity and around Guanabara Bay was gradually occupied by sugar mills and plantations, whose production was used as barter in the slave trade with Africa. Rural architecture flourished on these plantations in the 18th century, following the pattern of a common regional language that was to be found nowhere else in the country. All of the houses have large hipped roofs and a porch with Tuscan columns of brick masonry directly supporting the roof beam. The land of the Capão do Bispo Estate originally belonged to the Jesuits, and was auctioned after their expulsion in 1759. A large part of it was bought by Dom José Joaquim Justiniano Mascarenhas Castelo Branco, bishop of the city of Rio de Janeiro. He built the plantation’s house on an elevation close to a copse in the middle of the countryside. It became well known for its sugar production and later, in the 19th century, for its coffee production. The house now stands in the heart of a bustling urban area, although it has preserved a little of its rural atmosphere as it stands back from the rest of the street. Making use of the slope of the land, the porch is built on a raised base and can be reached by way of a side staircase of solid stone. The base and staircase give a certain magnificence to the porch’s Tuscan colonnade. The basement was used as the slaves’ quarters in the 19th century. The house is built around a central patio that has verandas with Tuscan porch columns all round it. The chapel is one of the rooms of the building facing the porch of the main façade. The origin of the Viegas Estate is the Lapa sugar mill, built in 1725 by Francisco Garcia do Amaral. The land was passed on to Manoel de Souza Viegas, who was probably responsible for the construction of the house and the chapel. The chapel is an independent structure, but is attached to the house, and its choir communicates directly with the porch. The room still has two trellis and lattice windows leading on to the veranda. The Tuscan columns of brick masonry are smaller and shorter than those on other existing plantations. The Engenho d’Água Estate is one of the initial marks of the occupation of the lowlands of Jacarepaguá. The region, a plain with several lagoons, was named Jacarepaguá, by the Indians, i.e. a shallow lagoon full of alligators. The plantation belonged to the Viscounts of Asseca in the 18th century and passed on to Francisco Pinto da Fonseca Telles, Baron of Taquara in the 19th century. The house has some features that make it stand out from the rest. It has a two-storey central body and the chapel occupies one of the sides of the porch and opens onto it. A small central staircase leads to the porch and the steps are lined with tiles depicting three battlemented towers. The House of the Taquara Estate was originally a building that fell within the previously defined pattern: a single floor, a front porch with Tuscan columns and a central courtyard with a veranda. The main two-storey body in neoclassical style was added in 1882. The columns were replaced by semi-circular arches in that section. The Chapel of Our Lady of Remedies, which stands beside the house, dates back to the 18th century, although it has 19th-century interior decoration. The Aqueduct on the lands of the present-day Colônia Juliano Moreira in Jacarepaguá was built in the second half of the 18th century in order to supply a now-extinct plantation. The aqueduct has around 70 metres of water channels standing on eight semi-circular arches, built from a mixture of stone and brick.

José Simões Belmont Pessôa