One of the signature buildings in Brasilia. This view shows
the upturned bowl of the deputy chamber with the Congress's
office towers in the background.
Lining the Mall in Brasilia are two rows of identical glass
boxes which house government ministry offices. I was there in
January when everyone was on vacation. The place was empty and
Model of Brasilia
Behind the Congress is an underground room with an overhead
model of Brasilia. The layout of the city is in the shape of
and airplane [modernist symbolism gone wrong]. The wings
are where the residential and commercial districts are. The
fuselage has the main government buildings and ceremonial sites.
The nave of the Cathedral is underground. One enters through a
tunnel. What is visible here is just the roof.
The Cathedral's Belltower
The blue and green stained glass windows make the cathedral
interior feel warm and tropical, as if I were still back on
the beach in Rio. There are too many windows, I think. The
interior is too bright and lacks the solemnity of a Cathedral.
Dom Bosco Church
The Dom Bosco chapel is in the residential section of town. It's
just a simple rectangle with the most amazing walls of stained
glass, as you can see. The colors are really this vivid.
One weird thing about the interior of the Congress is that
nearly every surface is carpeted. This give the whole place
a hushed, muted quality and not the clacking, echoing spaces
typical of public buildings.
Funky Furniture in Congress's Lobby
Oscar Niemeyer designed down to little details like the over-
sized leather furniture and white shag carpet in the lobby.
Niemeyer is still alive (as of June 2001) and must be consulted
on any small changes to his creation, fashion be damned.
Tunnel Passageway in Congress Building
Connecting many government buildings in Brasila are these
concrete tubes which sometimes are buried and sometimes fly
through the air like freeway overpasses. Were it not for the
busts and the ever-present carpet I might have thought myself
on the subway.
Random Hospital with "Crazy" Modern Design
Clever, modern architecture is not limited to the main buildings
in Brasilia. All over one can find examples of design run amok
as in this Hospital.
Rather than have street names, residential Brasilia is divided
into zones, sectors and blocks. Longtime residents will tell you
it's very logical. As a newcomer it's utterly confusing.
Rio de JaneiroDowntown Rio
Several subway stops from the beach and you'll find yourself
in downtown Rio amidst a forest of glass boxes.
Poor Zoning Laws in Downtown Rio
Rio had a charming historic center, a legacy of it's former
days as capital. Old buildings are still around but poor
preservation and zoning laws have lead to a profusion of cheap
and quick highrises like the one ont he left.
Rubik's Cube or the Borg? This buildings houses the headquarters
of the old state oil monopoly, Petrobras.
Old Convent w/ Petrobras
Smack in the center of Rio's redeveloped downtown sits this old
convent from the 17th Century. Surrounding it are the glass boxes
you see above and the lovely Petrobras building in the background.
Contemporary Art Museum, Niteroi
Oscar Niemeyer is still alive and kicking and churning out buildings.
One might have thought this space-age style went out with the Jetsons.
In fact this building was completed in 1996!
Niteroi is to Rio what Oakland is to San Francisco, a poorer,
unfabulous cousin across the bay. This museum has quickly become
the city's icon, appearing on bus and ferry logos. If you're in
Rio and are adventurous enough to make it off the beach, take a quick
and cheap ferry ride across to see this real lollipop of a building.
More Views of Niteroi Museum
Niemeyer was a modernist and highly influenced by Le Corbusier, the
French architect. Niemeyer's buildings have much more sensuous curves
and seem much more tropical. It's like he took all these stern, Northern
European Bauhaus designs and added a little rum, samba, and sex.
Waiting for the Bus
I took this with my point and shoot camera balanced on my knee
as I waited for the all-night bus to leave Rio to go to Ouro Preto.