Before Niemeyer and his cohorts, there was no Brasilia. From 1763 to 1960, the capital of Brazil was Rio de Janeiro, in the southeast of the country. Brasilia was chosen as the new capital because of its central location, but before it could become the seat of government, a proper city had to be built. Niemeyer is not solely responsible for the Brasilia we know it today: His friend and colleague Lucio Costa was responsible for most of the urban planning, which included rigid zones for working, living, and playing. But it was Niemeyer who designed the buildings that gave the place its distinctive look and feel.
"It's a place where the buildings count for a lot," he said in a 2000 interview. "The city is flat. The horizon stretches away endlessly."
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