Presentation of the destination
Brasilia, the Brazilian capital since the 1960s, is one of the most recent examples of ex-nihilo city-building. For a long time the Brazilian rulers had decided to locate the capital inland, almost uninhabited, to better share the population and wealth on the territory. It is Juscelino Kubitschek who realized this dream in 56 by sponsoring the construction of Brasilia which will be led by the architects Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer. A tribute to the armed spirit and international style that dominates the world of architecture in those years, Brasilia is a paradise for passionate architecture, design and urbanism. We go to discover the futuristic buildings of Niemeyer and the utopian urban organization of Lucio Costa, with the impression, even 55 years later, to find themselves in full sci-fi both the two creators to Were visionaries.
Points of interests / things to see
In April 55, Juscelino Kubitschek is a candidate for the presidency of the Brazilian Republic. During his campaign, he promises to build a new capital: Brasilia. The plan to locate the capital inland was longstanding, but had never been concretized. The realization of this monumental project is entrusted to the urban planner Lucio Costa and the architect Oscar Niemeyer, both disciples of Le Corbusier - who will follow the enterprise of the two Brazilians by far and will advise them and fascinated by the armed concrete. His famous promise is to advance the 50-year-old Brazil in 5 years, and it is held since Brasilia was born in just 3 years and ten months and still strikes today by its architecture futuristic and its urbanism totally modern. Lucio Costa wins the competition for the construction of Brasilia against 65 other projects. His project, very simple, based on the intersection at right angles of two axes: Eixo Rodoviario (or EixÄ o, road) and Eixo Monumental (monumental axis). The road axis crosses the residential areas, the monumental axis crosses the official buildings and monuments. The city, which takes the form of an airplane or an avian bird on the Paranoa artificial lake, is based on an ultra-rational organization of spaces. The monumental Eixo, straight as an arrow, cuts the city symmetrically from east to west, at its eastern tip is the Three Powers Square where the judicial, executive and Legislative as well as the esplanade of the ministries. The EixÄ o, curved, crosses the city from north to south. Brasilia brings together several urban planning concepts: it is a monumental city, organized from two main axes that define a symmetrical structure and clearly distinguish spaces; it is a functional city, each zone corresponds to a well-defined function (residential, commercial, hotel, cultural ...) that determines its form and its architecture; it's a park-town where Lucio Costa left a big place for the huge green spaces and the horizon, giving it a unique appearance; it is a radial city, organized into large blocks of clearly separated and autonomous buildings: each residential area, in fact, has its own shopping malls, its green spaces, its Schools, churches and so on ... The construction of Brasilia was based on a socialistic urban utopia. Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer had predicted that all social classes would find themselves in residential areas where workers and civil servants live together in harmony. This philosophy and the promise of jobs and good wages attracted many Brazilians who began to migrate from the inauguration of the capital on April 21, 1960. Initial plans provided that when the maximum capacity of the city - 500,000 inhabitants - was reached, satellite towns would be built. This project was not respected and Brasilia counted in 2010 more than 2 million inhabitants. The poorest people now live in favelas and the richest have fled their apartments to be built ostentatious luxury villas at the lake. Despite the failure of the social revolution desired by Niemeyer and Costa, Brasilia remains a great Brasilian pride and its architecture still amazes the visitor.
If you go to Brasilia, and that's not for work, it's to see Oscar Niemeyer's finest architectural achievements. If his style fits in the pure international tradition and in the inheritance of Corbusier, it is distinguished by its pronounced taste for the curves and the lightness. Niemeyer explains this love in an interview: "While the right angle is separating, dividing, I have always loved the curves, which are the very essence of the surrounding nature". He works hand-in-hand with Costa to make Brasilia a model of urban planning and modern and harmonious architecture, balanced that we find in all the major monuments of the Brazilian capital. The most famous place in Brasilia is probably the Praça dos Três Poderes (the Three Powers Square), located at the end is the Eixo Monumental. On this square is the Palacio do Planalto (presidential palace), headquarters of the executive, the Supreme Federal Court, the judiciary, and the buildings of the legislative, the the most famous monuments of the city: the Congress and the Senate with their domes, respectively concave and convex, forming a whole that the whole world knows. Each form is rich in signification: the chamber of Deputees is concave, symbol of opening, the convex Senes for reflection. In the middle, two towers connected by a footbridge form the H of "Humanity". The axis is made so that on April 21, the day of the commemoration of the death of the Brazilian revolutionary, Tiradentes, the sun rises precisely in the middle of the two towers. The front of the courthouse is covered by water cascades between the arches that land in a basin crossed by a bridge through which one reaches the building. One Another surprising construction is the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Apparition of Brasilia. It is a hyperboloids structure, composed of 16 white columns representing two hands joining up to the sky. Its entrance is underground and the ceiling consists mainly of glass and stained glass which allows an exclusively natural lighting. Upon entering, the visitor is welcomed by the statues of the four evangelists, Matthieu, Marc and Luc on the left, Jean on the right, shaped by the artist Ceschiatti who also made the angels out of aluminum which are in the nave. Another must-see religious building is the Dom Bosco shrine. This Italian saint had dreamed of a capital city ruled with justice and fulfilling all the needs of a nation. This capital would have been located between the 15th and the 20th parallel, exactly where Brasilia is located. The walls are more stained glass than walls, composed of Murano glass pieces and forming a large gradient of blue tones, which gives the impression of a sky éscées. While the cathedral is very bright, this church built by Vasconcelos Naves is much darker, but just as beautiful and fits fully into the architectural world thought by Niemeyer. The Brasilia National Museum, although inaugurated only in 2006, was also designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It is the largest dome ever built and looks like a kind of flying saucer in concrete, surrounded by a circular ramp that connects the two levels. If this saturnine construction is worth a look, the collection space is a little lacking, the walls and the huge spaces are empty or almost, but at least it's free and we can imagine in a sci-fi movie the time of the visit.
Far from wanting to oppose concrete and nature, Costa and Niemeyer have reserved a privileged place to the greenery. Lake Paranoa first, an artificial lake of 48km2, provided at the time of the construction of Brasilia. Surrounded by small restaurants and a park, it is an ideal place to walk and the dream location to admire the sunset. You can even take a dip in places or admire the Palacio da Alvorada (the Palace of the Dawn) or visit the Olympic Center. CÃ'tÃ © © Parks, the Parque da Cidade, even bigger than New York's Central Park, is a cyclist's, skater's or jogger's paradise. Not too far from the city center, you can barbeque or just enjoy the sun. More eccentric and wild, the National Park is a natural reserve of 30,000 hectares. It is home to important local fauna and endangered species, armadillos, monkeys, wolves or capivaras (large rodents) for example. It is known as Agua Marina for its springs and natural pools. Side flora we admire the typical vegetation of Brazil, dense and difficult to browse that we will not find anywhere else.
Vacation rentals in Brasília (Federal District)
How to get there ?
Brasilia is the hub of Brazilian air traffic, so it is easily accessible by plane from all over the country. On the other hand, and despite its quality as capital, Brasilia is underserved by international flights. The traveler arriving from abroad will have to make a change to Brazil or to one of the few destinations connected directly, namely Lisbon, Bogotá, Miami, Panama City, Montevideo or Atlanta. Joining the city is then quite simple, the bus network is dense and taxis numerous. Once in town, forget the idea of moving on foot, Brasilia was not built for that. On the other hand the car traffic is very pleasant and fluid, the city having been thought around the motor vehicle. The Brazilians drive as quietly as possible, so we forget the horn, and stop systematically to let the pedestrians pass. The car is also the best way to fully appreciate the city. However, there is a vast network of buses and metros for tourists, but they only serve the tourist areas very little.
Brasília city hall
Hotels in Brasília (Federal District)