Capital Cities are only conceived through a political will and force, their urban plans generally are a concrete spatialization of their political relationships and regimes. The political apparatus is not only what drives the creation of these cities but also what controls and shapes them1.
As one of the few ever planned Capital Cities of the world, Brasilia was envisioned to be the built representation of a nation. A Capital City, according to Lucio Costa’s memorial, should embody both the concepts of urbs and civitas. The historical understanding of these concepts will allow a parallel with concepts of political and symbolic in order to read the four scales, which were used to generate the plan of Brasilia. The Capital City was not designed in a grid but through two perpendicular axes, which are marked through infrastructure and the city, is laid out along these roads.
In his book on Megastructure: Urban Futures of the Recent Past, Reyner Banham reads Brasilia’s pilot plan as a megastructure drawing a parallel to Kenzo Tangue’s Tokyo Bay Project. This study reads the city in a slightly different way, by recognizing the model of Brasilia as a type of a linear city, which is composed of different types of megaforms. SQ WILL BE READ AS THE DOMINANT TYPE – WHICH IS THE TRUE MONUMENTAL AXIS AND THEREFORE THE TRUE SYMBOLIC OF BRASILIA.
Brasilia was originally planned for 500.000 inhabitants and currently has over 2.5 million people, 12% of which reside in the Pilot Plan. Brasilia’s satellite cities were initially illegal appropriations of land built to provide housing for workers and labourers involved in the construction of the new Capital. This initial objective shifted when new satellite cities were then meant to house the large number of people that were attracted by the job opportunities offered by the government.
This research recognises Lobbyism as an integral an active part of the democratic process, and thus to act in a comprehensive strategy to provide the political and symbolic dimensions lacking in the Satellite Cities. Resulting in an extension of the Monumental axis into a megaform.
1 Scott Campbell. Capital Cities, paper presented at the Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA (2000)
Project, Le Corbusier
Deep Structure of the Superquadra
Irregularities and growth in the Pilot Plan and typological shift
from the superquadra type in Brasilia to the podium towers in the Satellite Cities
Superquadra as a megaform
Superquadra as a megaform
Ground Floor Floorplan
Superquadra Megaform I Floorplan
Superquadra Megaform II Floorplan
AA MPhiL Thesis developed by Gabriella Gama under the supervision of Sam Jacoby and Christopher C M Lee.