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.
Architect and traveler.