Can you hear this? There’s a loud, constant beat coming from the center of the country of Samba. It’s Brasilia, in all its beauty of materialized imagination, pounding in an unpretentious celebration amidst the pandemic chaos we’re all experiencing. This is an invitation to sip on some individual and shared memories of this 60-year-old’s impact in the lives of so many Brazilians who were once drawn into it in hopes of a better life.
I bet you’re not exactly looking for a place to have a fresh start right now. Actually, if you’re like me, these words will probably find you in the middle of writing a list of places you want to see in the next couple of years. At least that’s the sort of thing me and my friends have been working on in the last 4 weeks of curfew. If you can relate to that, I hope this celebration of Brasilia’s uniqueness, brought to you by 7 people who hold the city dear, encourages you to pull it up to the spot it deserves in your travel priorities.
That said, the first thing you should know about Brasilia is that it was planned in a way to make blocks autonomous from each other. Let’s dive into that.
Brasilia’s Superblocks: the effects of the modern autonomous urbanism
Superblocks are residential areas designed to be interdependent. Ideated by the urbanist Lucio Costa, these blocks are called super for a reason: they incorporate the idea of enjoying life within walking distance. So, if you’re lucky enough to be one of the residents of the Superblocks, you and your family will be able to come downstairs from where you live to go for a run in the park or get your groceries – all within minutes of your doorstep.
“In my childhood I remember walking everywhere and being very close to nature. I’ve always lived in the North Wing, it’s been 35 years now. I remember that my dad and I used to ride our bikes around – and that’s something I still do every other day.” Fábio Rabelo
As Fabio noticed, there’s more to the superblocks than mere convenience.
Brasilia might be spread out, but it’ll make you feel welcome
Did you know that there are no ground floors in the main residential buildings of Brasilia? Such buildings were entirely built upon large pillars so that pedestrians can not only see but also walk through them.
“All the ground floors are empty and you can see what’s going on around you. It gives you a sense of amplitude providing you with feelings of freedom, belonging and safety.” Marina Marcondes
Brasilia is a city of gardens, fruit trees, and waterfalls
Another perk of living in Brasilia is enjoying the sensation of not only being surrounded by nature but also living in harmony with it within city quarters. Fruit trees and gardens are permanently within sight – and the scent of nature can be appreciated all across districts.
“I feel like I literally live inside a large public park. Well, I actually live upstairs from it. Experiencing all the green fields with fruit trees and veggie gardens around them makes me feel pretty lucky to live here. Also, all of that space makes the sound of cars disappear, so you get to live in a large city that sounds like a small town.” Priscila Moquedace
Brasilia’s cultural scene is being stirred up by Millenials
Although the capital of Brazil has always been on the news for its political issues, anyone who visits Brasilia will easily detect the potential for much more. There’s a recent artistic scene being led by Millenials who are not only creating musical and visual tributes to enjoy themselves but also taking up public spaces rarely noticed – and spicing it up with their creative instincts.
“We seem to be rediscovering Brasilia all the time: public spaces that we saw no potential on have suddenly been reinvented! There are groups of people who solely work on addressing empty spaces, like the space under a bridge for example, and bringing them to life with organized gatherings that involve art and music.” João Fernando Santoro
Brasilia deserves a premium spot on your bucket list
The city was ideated and structured to be robust and spacious. All of that harmony between the fluid emptiness of its ground floors and the stillness and safeness of the modern buildings that nicely fit in makes Brasilia the perfect space for creation and recreation. Artists, architects, and designers from all around Brazil not only come to pay a visit to the Brazilian Mecca of architecture but also leave their impressions.
If you still haven’t, be our guest and come experience Brasilia first-hand. You and your perspective are more than welcome to make an impact in this mature and still very young 60-year-old.
This modest tribute to the pounding heart of Brazil was inspired by the Podcast hosted by Mariana Franco and spiced up by Priscila Moquedace, João Fernando Santoro, Fábio Rabelo, Marcos Buson e Marina Marcondes in celebration of Brasilia’s birthday.