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From Rio to the Rainforest - Third Stop: Brazilia

Teddie Watts

Posted August 03, 2011 in: Travel 

The city was planned and developed in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as the principal urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. President Juscelino Kubitschek ordered the construction of Brasília, fulfilling an article of the country’s constitution dating back to 1891 stating that the capital should be moved from Rio de Janeiro to a place close to the center of the country to help populate that area. The city was built in only four years.  On April 22 of 1960, it formally became Brazil’s national capital. The public sector is by far the largest employer, accounting for around 40% of the city jobs. Government jobs include all levels, from the federal police to diplomacy, from the transportation bureau to the armed forces.  Salaries in Brazilia far outpace those of Rio. The Federal District has the largest GDP per capita income of Brazil.

The city is full of modernist architecture, much of it the work of Niemeyer.  He designed buildings, furniture, cathedrals, and works of art.  I thought his chairs were interesting, but we had trouble getting out of them without tipping them over.

Teddie Watts Photography

Niemeyer?s Justice department building is suspended from the star-shaped structure on top.

Teddie Watts Photography

Citizens live in forested areas in what are called superquadras, huge blocks of apartments flanked by small commercial areas, bookstores and cafes.  The apartments are quite large and there aren?t many single-family homes in Brazilia.  There is an element of ?sameness? in the residential areas, as all the Blocos look pretty much alike.


Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

The entry levels are elegant.
 
But the exteriors are pretty ordinary.

Teddie Watts Photography

The Juscelino Kubitschek bridge, also known as the ‘JK Bridge’, was spectacular.  It crosses Lake Paranoá.  It won the Gustav Lindenthal Medal due to “...outstanding achievement demonstrating harmony with the environment, aesthetic merit and successful community participation”.

Teddie Watts Photography

The Cathedral of Brazilia was also designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It is a concrete-framed structure with its glass roof reaching up, open, to the heavens.

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

An angel ?flies? through the interior of the cathedral.

Churches in Brazilia were very different from what one usually sees on a trip abroad.  Because the climate is mild, many use extensive swaths of stained glass.  The Dom Brosco Sanctuary is a good example.  The interior is composed almost entirely of individual openable, blue-glass jalousie windows.

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

We had the opportunity to tour another of the federal buildings.  It had a fantastic interior staircase, a garden on the ground level, and a roof-top garden.

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography

Teddie Watts Photography


Teddie Watts Photography

Brazilia was interesting, but Washington D.C. has more character.  Having been built all at once over a four-year period has resulted in everything seeming a bit out-dated and static.  Perhaps, as Brazil continues its economic growth, Brazilia will grow as well and its character will become more varied and complex.

Our next stop on our journey is Manaus.  Colonial rubber capital of Brazil and the gateway to the Amazon.

Teddie Watts Photography


About Teddie Watts - Teddie is relatively new to photography, in contrast to a lot of snapshot taking. A recent purchase of a SLR camera will require new learning and provide new experiences in trying to capture the essence of things. She is a grandmother and a retired Federal executive and adjunct professor, and is still consulting with government clients. She volunteers at the Calvert Marine Museum and plays on a trivia team every week and tries to make herself go to the gym to stay mobile. She lives on a creek so has lots of things to photograph year-round and has an iMac to play with her photos and print them. She is looking forward to new challenges and having the members of the CPC to share field trips and learn from.

Comments

Thanks for sharing the pictures of your trip. Looks like you had a great time!

Comment from Guy Stephens on August 03, 2011

If she'd taken me with her she would have known who the sculptor is who did the reclining lady. ... but she NEVER takes me! shaara P.S. Nice job on the backlit angel.

Comment from shaara kindermann on August 03, 2011

Wonderful photos! ...but my favorite is the 'flying staircase'. What a wonderful piece of work (both the stairs and the photo);~)

Comment from Karrie on August 03, 2011

Teddie, your photography is spectacular. Loved the churches, stairs and ultra modern art-sculptures. Rio is quite the city. thanks for sharing. Peggy

Comment from Peggy on August 03, 2011

Brazilia appears to be a very interesting place where I would always be able to shoot abstracts, as I love to do. I could probably spend days at a single location & never repeat a composition . . . at least, I'd like to try. Too bad it's not closer, so that I could make a photo trips every few weeks. The sameness of some of the other buildings is, to me, reminisicent of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where except for the Chapel, it's mostly "boring & boxy" government buildings. Hopefully, apartments, rather than urban sprawl, will help conserve the rain forest.

Comment from Jim Rogers on August 09, 2011

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