It’s impossible to discuss the 2016 Summer Olympics, which are being held from Aug. 5 to 21 in Rio de Janeiro, without first addressing the chaos that surrounds the international affair. Claims of shoddy construction, incidents of violent crime, and looming fears of a misquito-spread diseases has caused the state government of Rio de Janeiroto declare “a state of public calamity." This isn't the first Olympics mired in unfavorable circumstances, with similar incidents taking place in Russia in 2014 and China in 2008, and it’s easy to lose sight of why the International Olympic Committee was drawn to Rio in the first place.

Famous for its raucous parties and lively culture, Brazil is also home to an array of breathtaking sites from architectural greats like Pritzker laureates Oscar Niemeyer and Paulo Mendes da Rocha, as well as landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx and Affonso Eduardo Reidy. From free-form curves to gravity-defying volumes of concrete, these Brazilian designers have created sites that are purely their own and are unique in their pioneering form of modernism.

Below, we've gathered a sampling of the most prominent historical buildings and sites in Rio de Janeiro and more recent constructions that have been built to enhance and complement its culture.

© BurleMarx

Flamengo Park by Roberto Burle Marx

Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) by Oscar Niemeyer

Das Canoas House by Oscar Niemeyer

Flickr user Jeremy Reding via Creative Commons

Niemeyer Way by Oscar Niemeyer

Courtesy of Wikimedia Foundation via Creative Commons

Gustavo Capanema Palace by Lúcio Costa, Carlos Leão, Jorge Machado Moreira, Oscar Niemeyer, Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Ernani Vasconcelos, and Roberto Burle Marx

Flickr user Fabio Barbato via Creative Commons

Parque Lage by Mario Vodrel

Santiago Calatrava

The Museum of Tomorrow by Santiago Calatrava

Roland Halbe Lobby

Leblon Offices by Richard Meier & Partners Architects and RAF Arquitetura