To visit Brazil’s capital Brasilia is a unique experience. When they designed the city in 1956, architect Oscar Niemeyer, urban planner Lúcio Costa and landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx created some stunning architecture. Being a UNESCO world heritage doesn’t protect it from the decay of time. When the three guys planned the city they thought of everything – except people visiting. As Brasilia is divided into sectors, the working sector certainly is a lot of work to walk with it’s huge one way avenues without any pedestrian crossings and the entertainment sector doesn’t either necessarily mean fun.

When Robert Hughes wrote about “Trouble in Utopia” in his book “The Shock of the New” he thought about Brasilia when he wrote “Nothing dates faster than people’s fantasies about the future”. This is what you get when perfectly decent, intelligent, and talented men start thinking in terms of space rather than place; and single rather than multiple meanings. It’s what you get when you design for political aspirations rather than real human needs. You get miles of jerry-built platonic nowhere infested with Volkswagens. This, one may fervently hope, is the last experiment of its kind. The utopian buck stops here.”

Niemeyer himself stated at the end of his long prosperous life: “The experiment failed…”. But the Utopia lives on. His architecture is art. It’s pure and beautiful. And Brasilia definitely is one of the most worthy places to see – as long as you don’t live there.

Catedral in Brasilia, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, photo Schwarzrosagold

Congresso Nacional by Oscar Niemyer, photo Schwarzrosagold

Palacio dos Arcos (c) Schwarzrosagold