Purpose-built to replace Rio de Janeiro as the principal city of the nation, Brazil’s architecturally astounding capital Brasilia was established as recently as 1960. Its beginnings stretch back much further, though.
The proposal for an inland, federally neutral capital was mooted first in 1822, after Brazil had gained independence, and again in 1891, at the writing of the country’s first republican constitution.
The idea fell by the wayside until the 1950s, when it resurfaced under president Getulio Vargas his successor Juscelino Kubitscheck. A competition to design the city was held, won by Brazilian Lúcio Costa, who became the principal urban planner. Costa worked alongside Oscar Niemeyer, the principal architect, as well as Roberto Burle Marx, the landscape designer.
Construction of the new home of Brazil’s federal and political power began in 1956, and was completed just 41 months later on April 21, 1960, a huge feat of design, planning and forward thinking.