Brasília, the capital of Brazil since 1960, was the world’s first planned city. Brazilian architecture found its moment of glory in the monumental construction of the new capital.


This massive undertaking represented an effort to bring development to the country’s impoverished interior. The urbanization project was led by urban planner Lúcio Costa and world-famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. Seen from above, Brasília is laid out in the shape of an airplane. The fuselage, or central axis, contains all of the government buildings and monuments, while the wings constitute the residential areas, each block of buildings provided with its own shopping complex, playground, school, and supermarket. These “superblocks” house Brasilia’s population, largely made up of federal employees. Extending out more than 60 miles all sides of the city are the satellite cities, populated by rural workers who migrated to the capital for the opportunities it provided in the construction and service industries.


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Cathedral of Brasilia