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  5. Oscar Niemeyer
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  7. AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer

AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer

AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer
AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer, © Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons

© Brasilia © Wikimedia Commons © Brasilia © Brasilia +12

From the architect. Having such a significant history, it can be expected that the architecture of Brasilia reflects the richness and prominence of the culture as a planned city. 

© Brasilia
© Brasilia

The church bears much importance in the society, so the design had to have significance and personality against its surroundings. Oscar Niemeyer was sure to make a statement with the powerful expression and unique form of the Cathedral of Brasilia, which led to his acceptance of the Pritzker Prize in 1988.

The cornerstone was laid in early September of 1958, when designs were beginning to be proposed and thoroughly planned out by Oscar Niemeyer. With a diameter of 70m, the only visible structure of the cathedral being sixteen concrete columns with a very peculiar shape. Reaching up towards the sky to represent two hands, the columns have parabolic sections.

© Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons

After the addition of the external transparent windows, the Cathedral was dedicated on May 31st of 1970. Figuratively guarding the exterior of the church stand four bronze sculptures, each 3m high. 

© Brasilia
© Brasilia

These represent the Evangelists and were made with the help of Dante Croce in 1968. More sculptures can be seen inside the nave, where three angels are suspended by steel cables. Ranging in size from 2.22 to 4.25m long and weighing 100kg-300kg each, these were completed by Alfredo Ceschiatti and Dante Croce in 1970.

© Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons

Hand-painted ceramic tiles cover the walls of the oval-shaped Baptistery, done by Athos Bulcao in 1977. The Cathedral is completed with its bell tower, housing four bells that were donated by Spain. More obvious details of the interior are the stained glass windows, with different shades of blue, white and brown.

© Brasilia
© Brasilia

These were pieced together to fit between the steel columns, into 30m high triangles that run 10m across.  The alter was donated by Pope Paul VI, as well as the image of the Patroness Lady of Aparecida. 

© Brasilia
© Brasilia

Upon entering into the Cathedral, there stands a marble pillar with pictures of passages of the life of Our Lady, painted by Athos Bulcao.

© Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons

Because it is located at the Esplanada dos Ministerios, there is not a fixed community that attends services. A majority of those that come to the Mass are tourists or workers at the Esplanada dos Ministerios. The Cathedral is open daily for public visitation.

© Wikimedia Commons
© Wikimedia Commons
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Megan Sveiven. "AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer" 05 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/101516/ad-classics-cathedral-of-brasilia-oscar-niemeyer/>
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43 Comments

Sony Paul · April 04, 2015

Beautiful, I hope to visit the church someday.

Alyx Robinson · November 25, 2013

I believe that Niemeyer’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is a good example of modernism for several reasons, not entirely reliant on the aesthetics of the building. The exterior does express the structure, and that is also expressive of the interior space that it creates. But it also stands for so much more of what the modern movement began, shown through what it means to Brazil as a whole.

Alyx Robinson · November 25, 2013

I appreciate Niemeyer's Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia as an example of modernism, even if it doesn't quite meet all the regular expectations of that word. The expression of the structure and the space it creates in the interior, the use of "ornamentation" or the lack thereof, and what the Cathedral meant to Brazil at the time of its design and creation...all these things represent, to me, the number of things that Modernism can achieve in all its forms, and offshoots.

Alyx Robinson · November 25, 2013

Niemeyer's Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is a good example of Modernism to me because of the way that the space is defined within the building, and how that space is expressed from the exterior. It may not be the most classical example of Modernism in every way of the term, but I think it provides a good look at what ELSE modernism can be and/or achieve.

AllAboutDoor&Windows · April 28, 2012

The ceiling of this cathedral is all stained glass-- gorgeous and interesting: http://t.co/XLWC3jMB #architecture

Ma. Fernanda Aguirre · April 09, 2011
Ksuha · February 11, 2011
sssssswwe · January 18, 2011

The colored glass and the flying angels really don't fit in imo

El Sr. Mata Reyes · January 12, 2011

RT @LeoReyna: yo me quiero casar en esta catedral http://bit.ly/hx8K0t // Tan simple y fea que esta leo! solo pork esta grande!

Leo Reyna · January 12, 2011

yo me quiero casar en esta catedral http://bit.ly/hx8K0t

AIA IFRAA KC · January 12, 2011

Cathedral of Brasilia by Oscar Niemeyer at ArchDaily: http://bit.ly/hx8K0t

maglightdesign · January 10, 2011

Niemeyer, always Niemeyer! AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer | ArchDaily http://t.co/zDeBMK8 via @archdaily

Maria Fidalgo · January 09, 2011

AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer | ArchDaily http://t.co/aa3ZPG9 via @archdaily

CurvyCorners · January 09, 2011

Beautiful! Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer http://t.co/ZApBT9j via @archdaily #architecture #cathedral #Brasilia

José Antonio Gras · January 08, 2011

Aprovechando su 103 cumpleaños hace unos días, aquí una de mis obras preferidas de Oscar Niemeyer, Catedral de Brasilia http://bit.ly/huBvmt

huisno1 · January 07, 2011

Low quality images for such an AD Classic, Why?

Marcus Ellard · January 07, 2011

RT @ArchDaily: AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia / Oscar Niemeyer http://archdai.ly/i2ZuJT #architecture

Marcis Ellard · January 07, 2011

Religous buildings without a faith community are incomplete.

Kate Miller · January 07, 2011

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Ryan Onstott · January 07, 2011

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Andy Marshall · January 07, 2011

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Travel Writer · January 07, 2011

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daqb design · January 07, 2011

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karine tito · January 06, 2011

meu projeto preferido no mundo todo: http://www.archdaily.com/10151...

Valentina Diotallevi · January 06, 2011

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Milan Kramolis · January 06, 2011

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Architekt R V Scholz · January 06, 2011

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Arquitectura · January 06, 2011

RT @oscarm_arq Nunca es malo..Catedral de Brasilia por mi tocayo http://digs.by/gbnK0M #arquitectura: Nunca es m... http://bit.ly/ewtJIb

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arch_related · January 06, 2011

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DEZIGN · January 06, 2011

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ALAsadi Fatemah · January 06, 2011

cathedral of Brasillia/ Oscar Niemeyer,there is no space in the space.

···

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© Wikimedia Commons

AD Classics: Cathedral of Brasilia