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Brasília’s futuristic architecture gives riot a sci-fi backdrop

As thousands of supporters of Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed the nation’s capital Sunday, Brasília’s modernist architecture created a striking backdrop to the chaos.카지노사이트

The city, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and urban planner Lúcio Costa in the 1950s and a UNESCO World Heritage site, looked to some like it was straight out of a “1960s dystopian sci-fi,” as one Twitter user put it.

The riot by Bolsonaro supporters protesting the election of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva happened around a historically significant area known as Three Powers Square. Flag-carrying protesters encircled the National Congress building’s bowl-shaped roof. Furniture fell into the sleek reflecting pools outside the presidential palace. The glass facade of the Supreme Federal Court — a geometric structure with thin, curving columns — was speckled with spider-weblike cracks.

“It is already confirmed that the acts of vandalism have ruined several areas of these buildings, collapsing valuable heritage items,” UNESCO Brasília said in a statement, which also said that the organization “regrets and strongly repudiates the events.”

For Farès el-Dahdah, a professor at Rice University who has written about Brazil’s modern architecture, the scene was unsettling. “I could not help but noticing the irony of seeing buildings being ransacked when they had been precisely designed to be accessible for all,” he said via email.

Civic architecture — the grand marble steps leading to the U.S. Capitol building, the neo-gothic peaks of the British House of Parliament standing tall over the River Thames — tends to be deeply symbolic. Niemeyer’s Brasília was a utopian vision of progress, a city built on the communist ideals of egalitarianism that he strongly professed. For others, the city, with its imposing pro-government monument and car-centric layout, has devolved into something almost authoritarian.

Love it or hate it, the originality of Brasília’s design is hard to deny. UNESCO calls it “a definitive example of 20th century modernist urbanism.” And, when asked about another place that compares, Dahdah said, “No other such city comes even close.”

The city was built in a barren savanna, springing up from nothing in just a few years. A part of then-President Juscelino Kubitschek’s national modernization project, the city, once completed, moved the country’s federal capital from coastal Rio de Janeiro to the center of the country.

Kubitschek held an international competition for the design in 1957. Costa drew up a quick graphic design for the city known as the “Plano Piloto,” which imagined it would be shaped like an airplane or a bird in flight, conveying a sense of progress.

“Vast voids and movement at different speeds are, in Costa’s conception, urban values of access to the public that a visitor is to feel and experience,” Dahdah said.

Costa brought his friend Niemeyer onto the project. A concrete aficionado and an admirer of urban planner Le Corbusier, Niemeyer was perhaps more an artist than a technical architect. He once told Britain’s Guardian newspaper, “I pick up my pen. It flows. A building appears.” And his buildings have a loose, almost sketch-like quality, curving organically and whimsically.

When designing Brasília, Niemeyer wanted “to prolong the ceremonial pleasure of entering a building,” Dahdah said. The long ramps outside the National Congress building, for instance, were meant to “extend the visual display of a building’s beauty,” he added.

For Niemeyer, accessibility was fundamental to his designs. He reduced the size of building supports; made imposing, heavy structures appear light by lifting them into the air; removed obstacles to entry; and — as is so visible in the riot imagery — made rooftops reachable. These features “contribute to maximum penetrability,” Dahdah said.바카라사이트

Despite the designers’ ambitions, though, many say the city has fallen short of its aspirations. The rigid design (made more so by its UNESCO designation) has led to the creation of satellite cities and suburban sprawl to meet a rapidly rising population. And with many workers leaving at night for those places, Brasília is said to lack the liveliness of other Brazilian cities.

The modern metropolis’s costly construction even played a role in creating the bad inflation Brazil faced in the 1960s. A military coup in 1964 — partially a result of economic instability — transformed Brasília from a glossy symbol of progress to a warning.

As Lula takes control in Brazil, he faces a divided electorate, fiscal holes and the obligation to maintain difficult campaign promises. For his liberal supporters, his election carries a promise of progress — like Brasília in its earlier days.

Niemeyer told the Guardian that Brasília “didn’t work.” But when building it, he said, he had hope for something greater. “It seemed as if a new society was being born, with all the traditional barriers cast aside.”온라인카지노

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