Brasilia is a planned city. Constructed in the late 1950s as part of a Brazilian government plan to make a capital city that was more central than former capital Rio de Janeiro, the city was intended to be a modern architectural utopia, all curved walls and triangles and blindingly white monuments hovering in the cityscape like UFOs. Like all planned utopias, Brasilia failed to actually accommodate the messiness of human life—today, hundreds of thousands of people are bussed in and out of the metropolis every day to care for its antiseptic architecture, but they cannot afford to actually live among the dominating structures. As the nameless voiceover in the documentary A Machine to Live In puts it: “What is architecture if not boundaries?”
by Blair Stenvick
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