I remember the first time I laid eyes on a photo of Brasilia. I actually thought it was from a science fiction movie or computer generated 3D model. In fact, it’s still hard to believe these buildings really exist on our planet today.
Yesterday, the legendary architect behind Brasilia and many more modernist works of art, passed away at the age of 104.
Oscar Niemeyer was an architect by trade, but his buildings embodied much more than the engineering or utility behind them; they were, to borrow a phrase I read in a recent obituary, “a poetic vision of the future.”
And nowhere was Oscar’s vision better demonstrated than in Brasilia, a planned utopia conceived in Brazil’s interior that resembles a spaceport more than anything we might recognize as a city. In fact, after flying over Brasilia’s futuristic presidential palace and modular ministries in 1961, Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut and first man in space, said “the impression was like arriving on another planet.”
The photos presented here are from two photographers and sources. Marcel Gautherot’s photos of ‘The Construction of Brasilia’ are sourced from an Arch Daily article you should read and see. The others are from Rene Burri, and you can view more of them through Magnum Photo’s website.