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Old April 29th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #1
harlamar
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Brasilia - A Modern Vision

Brasilia was a city planned very rapidly, and executed in 5 years. (Yes, thats correct, imagine D.C. constructed in 5 years!) The outlying principals were based on the early-mid 20th century European modernists known as CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architects). These untested methods regarded city planning as a utopian segregation of services and industry (Bank district, Habitation district, Governmental district, etc) and built around the (at the time) futuristic device of the automobile. These ideas, although novel at the time, are incredibly un-Brazilian: Cities in Brazil are activated by dense overlaps of social structures and functions, dynamic mixtures of people, and slow, windy roads, which permit the existence of street corner life. Through the separation of city services, construction of long, wide, [uncrossable] straight pseudo-highways as primary movement, Brasilia completely flattened any chance of the beautiful complexity of Brazilian cities.
The financing of the city was an incredible blunder. The government simply printed money to pay for the construction of the so-called "30 years of progress in 5". You don't need to be an economics expert to realize this problem, as the popular version of that slogan turned into "30 years of inflation in 5". Another major problem, common to almost every city in Brazil, was the marginalization of the poor. The city of Brasilia actually became populated in the perimetric suburbs. The central district was filled by government workers, and the poor (those who constructed the city), were unable to afford these areas and lived on the perimeter, where most of the population resides.
For all the problems in the design of Brasilia, it still holds some of the most magnificent monumental architecture in the world, in the unique brand of Brazilian concrete construction. These monuments certainly express the Brazilian desire for progress, clearly labeled on the flag "Ordem e Progresso". Ironically, their progressive city suffered from the over-abundance of order. Its unfortunate that such a heroic effort can turn on itself, in its abundance of optimism. This also highlights another historic slogan of the country, translated as: "Brazil is the country of the future, but the future will never come".

Below are photos I shot on a trip to the city. Please add yours to the thread!




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Old April 29th, 2010, 09:58 PM   #2
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great perspectives!

I tried to learn to dance the samba on that square, in the middle of the night, after the wedding of my brother, almost a year ago
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Old April 29th, 2010, 11:15 PM   #3
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Nice brief history of Brasilia and great photos as well! keep posting
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 05:26 AM   #4
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the funny thing is, lots of people (including some who should know better) castigate brasilia as 'ugly' architecturally, and then further accuse it of being dysfunctional because of its 'modernist ugliness'.

of course they overlook the fact that the buildings in question (e.g. the brazilian parliament) were designed well and were built with craftsmanship and materials.

brasilia was a mess because it was based on the automobile. that doesn't mean it's beyond hope, as good retroactive measures have been taken.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 12:06 PM   #5
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The Plano Piloto is a popular (and very expensive) place to live.

From what I saw of it, it's neither dysfunctional nor a mess.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 07:29 PM   #6
particlez
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hmm. definitely not a mess. that was the typical accusation from boneheads who conflate good architecture with historicism.

dysfunctional because it was modeled after the car? again, brasilia is hardly alone in that respect.

at any rate, brasilia's architecture really deserves more respect.
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Old May 3rd, 2010, 05:00 PM   #7
MikeVonJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harlamar View Post
Brasilia was a city planned very rapidly, and executed in 5 years. (Yes, thats correct, imagine D.C. constructed in 5 years!) The outlying principals were based on the early-mid 20th century European modernists known as CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architects). These untested methods regarded city planning as a utopian segregation of services and industry (Bank district, Habitation district, Governmental district, etc) and built around the (at the time) futuristic device of the automobile. These ideas, although novel at the time, are incredibly un-Brazilian: Cities in Brazil are activated by dense overlaps of social structures and functions, dynamic mixtures of people, and slow, windy roads, which permit the existence of street corner life. Through the separation of city services, construction of long, wide, [uncrossable] straight pseudo-highways as primary movement, Brasilia completely flattened any chance of the beautiful complexity of Brazilian cities.
The financing of the city was an incredible blunder. The government simply printed money to pay for the construction of the so-called "30 years of progress in 5". You don't need to be an economics expert to realize this problem, as the popular version of that slogan turned into "30 years of inflation in 5". Another major problem, common to almost every city in Brazil, was the marginalization of the poor. The city of Brasilia actually became populated in the perimetric suburbs. The central district was filled by government workers, and the poor (those who constructed the city), were unable to afford these areas and lived on the perimeter, where most of the population resides.
For all the problems in the design of Brasilia, it still holds some of the most magnificent monumental architecture in the world, in the unique brand of Brazilian concrete construction. These monuments certainly express the Brazilian desire for progress, clearly labeled on the flag "Ordem e Progresso". Ironically, their progressive city suffered from the over-abundance of order. Its unfortunate that such a heroic effort can turn on itself, in its abundance of optimism. This also highlights another historic slogan of the country, translated as: "Brazil is the country of the future, but the future will never come".
I desagree with many of the things you've said, the city, for example, was not designed for cars, it was made for the pedestrians, that's why Lucio Costa designed the Pilotis, which are the buildings that exist in Brasília, you can walk down through these buildings and he disigned them like that to make the act of walking an activity with no restrictions of barriers such as normal buildings... here is a good thread so that you can see the real Brasília...
It's in Portuguese, by the way...

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1116649
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