’Arquivo Brasilia’ by Lina Kim and Michael Wesely
Wallpaper* has had a long-standing love affair with Brazil. We’ve gone so far as to dedicate an entire issue to the country (June 2010).
Especially close to our heart is the capital Brasilia, a sprawling epic of ambition and architectural hubris that, as Mario Cesar Carvalho puts it, was built in the space of four years in the middle of nowhere.
Timely then that for the city’s 50th anniversary, we are adding ’Arquivo Brasília’ to our bookshelves. In compiling the largest iconographic survey ever undertaken about the city, authors Lina Kim and Michael Wesely combed public archives, sorting through 10,000 images that document Brasilia’s construction - many in a perilous state of deterioration and discolouration - to end up with the final cut of 1,400 colour and black and white images.
As photographic records go, this is an important document that canvases the birth of a city (including President Juscelino Kubitschek’s first expeditions to the site in 1956) through to the foundation works (and the pivotal construction of the city’s cruciform axes) and the totemic 1960 inauguration.
As Guilherme Wisnik points out in his foreword, with ’Arquivo Brasilia’, the city finally gains the documentary treatment it deserves.