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Marcel Gautherot


AD Classics: National Congress / Oscar Niemeyer

Located at the head of the abstract bird-shaped city plan by Lúcio Costa, and as the only building within the central greensward of the eastern arm of the Monumental Axis, the palace of the National Congress (Congresso Nacional) enjoys pride of place among Oscar Niemeyer’s government buildings in Brasília. The most sober of the palaces on the Plaza of the Three Powers, the National Congress reflects the strong influence of Le Corbusier, while hinting at the more romantic and whimsical forms that characterize Niemeyer’s trademark Brazilian Modernism.

Open Call: US Searches for Architect to Design New Embassy Compound in Brasília

The United States Department of State (DOS) has released a request for information (RFI) in search of architects interested in designing a New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Brasília, the federal capital of Brazil. The (up to) $350 million, design-bid-build project will be located on a 4.86 hectares (12 acres) site near the seat of the Brazilian Government within the city's planned "Diplomatic Sector." All proposals must take in considering the site's conditions, the city planning context and the architectural significance of Brasilia as a 1956 urban planned city and now UNESCO World Heritage Site. More details after the break. 

6 Politically Motivated Cities Built From Scratch

Threatening to end Cairo’s 1,046 year dominance as the country’s capital, earlier this month the government of Egypt announced their intentions to create a new, yet-to-be-named capital city just east of New Cairo. The promise of the more than 270 square mile ‘new New Cairo’ has attracted headlines from around the world with its sheer scale; a $45 billion development of housing, shopping and landmarks designed to attract tourism from day one, including a theme park larger than Disneyland. And of course, the plans include the promise of homes - for at least 5 million residents in fact, with the vast number of schools, hospitals and religious and community buildings that a modern city requires - making the new capital of Egypt the largest planned city in history.

The idea of building a new capital city has appealed to governments across history; a way to wipe the slate clean, stimulate the economy and lay out your vision of the world in stone, concrete and parkland. Even old Cairo was founded as a purpose built capital, although admittedly urban planning has changed a little since then. It continues to change today; see the full list of different ways to build a totally new city after the break.

Image of the planned new capital of Egypt, masterplanned by SOM. Image © SOM Train station. Image © SOM Government District. Image © SOM Concept of Cairo's replacement by Skidmore, Owings and Merril. Image © SOM

A Year Without Oscar

It's been exactly one year since the world first mourned the passing of a great master of 20th century architecture: Oscar Niemeyer. 

After 104 years of life, the renowned architect left a profound legacy. His works  - known for their impressive curves, embrace of  light, and profound relationship to their surroundings - made him an icon. Not just in Brazil, but the world.

The Construction of Brasilia, photos by Marcel Gautherot

Brasilia, the federal capital of Brazil and icon of the brazilian modernism. Initially planned by the urbanist Lúcio Costa for 500,000 inhabitants (now lives more than 2,5 million people). Construction began in 1956 and included the most remarkable buildings designed by Oscar Niemeyer, reason why Brasilia is the only city in the world built in the 20th century to be awarded the status of Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

To honor the work of Oscar Niemeyer,  we present after the brake some of the photos taken by the franco-brazilian photographer Marcel Gautherot during the construction of Niemeyer's emblematic buildings. Such as the Palácio do Planalto, Palácio de Alvorada (official residence of the President of Brazil), the Cathedral of Brasilia and the National Congress of Brazil.