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Building Brasília

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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 a modern heart for the burgeoning country. Kubitschek won; he was elected president and so commenced one of the most ambitious single building projects ever. The city of Brasília was 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'.

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Richard J. Williams is Professor of Contemporary Visual Cultures at the University of Edinburgh where he has worked since 2000. Before that, he studied fine art at Goldsmiths College, and history of art at the University of Manchester. His work deals mainly with modern and contemporary architecture and urban theory; the representation of cities in film and TV is a major interest. His books include, The Anxious City (2004), Brazil: Modern Architectures in History (2009), Sex and Buildings (2013), The Architecture of Art History (with Mark Crinson, 2018) and Why Cities Look the Way They Do (2018). He is currently writing a book about the architectural historian and critic Reyner Banham.

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