Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhrora Aparecida.
I visited the Cathedral of Brasilia on 2019 (October 1st).
With more than one million visitors each year, this is the most visited place in Brasilia.
Design by Oscar Niemeyer, construction started in 1958 (completed in 1970).
The cathedral is a hyperboloid structure with 16 concrete columns. All columns have a similar shape, a height of 39 meters (131 feet), and this are the only elements in the building with an opaque material. The columns give the cathedral it famous shape, and (as expressed by the architect) represent two hands reaching up towards the sky.
The translucent space between columns consist in two layers of covering: The outer roof in fiberglass, and the inner ceiling in stained glass (created by the french artist Marianne Peretti, added in 1990).
Most of the cathedral is underground. The nave has a circular plan with 70-meters (230 feet) diameter, and it is surrounded by a 12 meters (39 feet) wide reflecting pool.
Visitors have to pass under the reflecting pool to access the cathedral through a dark tunnel. After the tunnel you enter in a very bright and colorful space covered in the stained glass.
This is what I love about this building, how from the outside you don’t get a clue of how impressive is the interior.
“Eu criei uma galeria escura de modo que, quando a pessoa chegar à nave, tem um contraste de luz: olha e vê até os espaços infinitos; e o corpo da igreja, esplendorosamente transbordante de luz e cor.” Oscar Niemeyer.
“I created a dark gallery so that when a person arrives to the temple, it has a lighting contrast: look and see even the infinite spaces; and the body of the church, splendidly overflowing with light and color.” Oscar Niemeyer.
I visited Brazilian National Congress building in 2019 (October 1st).
Brasilia was founded in 1960 and built in just 3 years to be the new capital of Brazil. Named World Heritage Site (by UNESCO) for its modernist architecture and urban planning.
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the building is divided by an imaginary line. (In this picture the line would be at 1/3 from the left). Everything on the left to that line is the Federal Senate (81 seats). Everything on the right belongs to the Chamber of Deputies (513 seats) .
The line represents the balance of legislative power, rather than physical space.
Each chamber is aesthetically represented for a cupola (concave for the senate, convex for the chamber of deputies) resting on top of a big base designed to be a public plaza. Never used for this purpose, due to security concerns, the square remains closed to the public.
In my opinion, having the square on top the “public servants” building, is a reminder of how democracy works, and how the people has the last say. (In 2013 during a national protest the plaza was taken by the people! - See more pictures of the protest here: shorturl.at/euBNP )
The interior is impressive. The buildings are connected by a series of underground and elevated tunnels, that reinforce the security inside the complex.
Architect and traveler.