Building Brasília

Building Brasília from HENI Talks on YouTube.

1955. Brazil. A man – Juscelino Kubitschek – campaigning to be president made a promise to the people to construct an entirely new capital city from scratch, to create modern heart for the fledgling country. Kubitschek won; he was elected president and so commenced one of the most ambitious single building projects ever, the city of Brasília fashioned in just 4 years.

City planner Lùcio Costa’s graphic design for an ideal city was combined with architect Oscar Niemeyer’s artistic prowess and provocative use of concrete. Niemeyer was notorious for creating pure, sculptural and sometimes shocking buildings. But were these seemingly otherworldly structures practical? And what is their legacy today? Join Professor Richard J. Williams in this HENI Talk to uncover the story of this modernist utopia.

Cite this page as: HENI Talks, "Building Brasília," in Smarthistory, April 23, 2021, accessed May 24, 2024,