Wearing masks with the faces of Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa, architects and urban planners swarmed the 50th Annual IAB (Institute of Architects of Brazil) Awards in Rio de Janeiro this week. The architects were protesting a contract the city government of Brasilia struck with a Singaporean firm to create an urban masterplan outlining the next 50 years of Brasilia’s future.
The protesters, who argue that any urban revision of the city ought to be undertaken by Brazilians themselves, chanted in homage to the late Oscar Niemeyer: “Niemeyer, yes! Brasilia by Singapore, no!”
IAB and the Council of Architecture and Urbanism have criticized the government’s choice to use a foreign company, with no ties to Brazil, to alter a federal capital dreamed up and designed by Brazilian urbanists, particularly Lúcio Costa. They also lament that the contract was forged without any public consultation or competition.
The contract with Jurong Consultants, a company associated with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Singapore, was signed in October of last year. The project, called Brasília 2060, is valued at about US$ 4.5 million.