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Brasilia Architecture

Brasilia is the epitome of modernism. Lucio Costas' Pilot Plan of the city was given to Le Corbusier for opinion and approval and Oscar Niemeyer designed all of the public buildings within it. The design was created through the urban principles established by the International Congresses for Modern Architecture, especially the one published in 1942 that proposed strict zoning laws that were function based. Oscar Niemeyer's architecture and the plan conceived by Lucio Costa hold a strong relationship and support each other to form an aesthetic balance. The city was viewed as one large entity and machine, and this is reflected in the interaction of the architecture with the city planning.

The President Juscelino Kubitscheck Bridge
The large lake that separates half of Brasilia's residents from their work place had two bridges built across it, yet with the unforeseen expansion of the city's population (from the accommodated 500,000 to 2 million) a third bridge was needed to accommodate the large stream of traffic. The architect Alexandre Chan and engineer Mario Vila, both from Rio de Janeiro, designed this beautiful leaping variation on the ancient structure of bridges. The bridge has three beautiful and graceful arches, similar to the invisible path of a bouncing ball, however the end of each arch crosses the roadway and lands on the opposite side of its beginning, forming a slightly zigzagging pattern. The bridge matches the largely Niemeyer architecture of the rest of the city. The bridge is also becoming a great example of the collaboration that is possible between architecture and engineering, and how the mixing of the two allows for the pushing of boundaries. The bridge has become one of the symbols of the city.

Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida
This is one of the most famous icons of Brasilia.When you enter through descending steps you are flooded by white marble and marine colored stained glass windows that cast blue green shadows onto the smooth, cold floor. The natural light that floods through these high windows forms an atmosphere of incredible spaciousness and air. The four apostles around the altar were sculpted by the famous Brazilian sculptor Alfredo Ceschiatti, whose works can be found all over Brasilia.

Memorial JK
This monument was built in the 1980's to honor Juscelino Kubitschek, the president who made a reality the dream of Brasilia. Here lies his deceased body. The entire building is closed off, like a pyramid, except for the front entrance and window above the formed president's head. The arch with two legs seems surrealistic; one must be awed at the genius of the collaboration between the architect and the engineer that had to have taken place for this memorial to be able to stand!

Palacio do Itamaraty
Designed by Niemeyer and landscaped by Burle Marx, the building is now mainly a ceremonial hall for the department of foreign affairs, yet the interior of the building is breathtaking. Supremely modern, it spans two floors that hold few rooms, but are a dazzling white fromloor to ceiling. Antique wooden furniture provide for a beautiful contrast, as do the 18th and 19th century paintings.

TV Tower
This 240 foot tower provides for stunning views of the city, and for free. An elevator takes you to the top and provides for spectacular views of the sprawled out city below you. The government buildings look incredible and miniscule as you stand,literally, above the rational of the city's plan.

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