From Vitoria, we flew to Brasilia to spend a couple of days exploring this unique town. Brasilia is the modernist city that a very cool and visionary and charismatic president of Brazil, Juscelino Kubitschek, wanted to be created from scratch.
Among many other architects, Lucio Costa was selected by a jury to carry out this huge undertaking. Oscar Niemeyer was the chief architect of most public buildings, Joaquim Cardozo was the structural engineer, and Roberto Burle Marx was the landscape designer.
Brasília was built in only 4 years, from 1956 to 1960, when it was officially inaugurated. In those days, Brazil was excelling on the international stage in many fields, from architecture to art and even sport (they won the 1958 Soccer World Cup with Pelé). Very interesting times for Brazil.
If you visit Brasilia you can see symbolism everywhere. Costa used a cross-axial design indicating the possession and conquest of this new place with a cross that resembles a dragonfly, an airplane or a bird. The plan of the city includes two principal components, the Monumental Axis (east to west) and the Residential Axis (north to south).
Brasilia was designed for work. There are no beaches like in Rio, and people are mote cold. You need a car to move around, there are shopping mall that makes you think you are in a midwest American town rather than in Brazil. We didn’t see many tourists around, we heard that no one goes there to spend a weekend or a vacation.
Well, I’m glad we did. We knew almost nothing about the history of Brazil, about Juscelino Kubitschek and Tancredo Neves, and about architects like Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer. Well, now we do. Learning this way is fun.