Building Brasilia

Building Brasilia

  1. Photographs by Marcel Gautherot
  2. Text by Kenneth Frampton
See Inside
  • ISBN 9780500515426
  • 29.70 x 23.70 cm
  • Hardback
  • 192pp
  • With 169 tritone illustrations
  • First published 2010
‘Superb … breathtaking, utopian shots of the city on the grow are complemented by portraits of the workers responsible … it’s the fantastical images of the city taking on its form that really hold the attention … The haunting, hallucinatory quality of Gautherot’s photographs gives them the patina of science fiction’ – Icon
‘Superb photos … the buildings look as beautiful as anything that came out of the 20th century’ – The Financial Times



Marcel Gautherot, the ideal architectural photographer, made an epic undertaking in the late 1950s – photographing every step of the construction of the city of Brasilia, from untouched grassland to modern capital.

Gautherot photographed not only every stage of construction, but also the faces and homes of the workers. The result is a monumental and radical photo essay on this triumph of urban planning and architecture.

Gautherot had studied architecture and design, and was influenced by Le Corbusier and other modernists as well as the political radicalism of the period. Postwar, he devoted his life to travel and photography, taking with him the formal rigour of modernism and also a sympathy for ordinary people.

Moving to Brazil in 1940, he forged many friendships, most notably with Oscar Niemeyer, the chief architect of Brasilia, becoming Niemeyer’s photographer of choice.

Here, for the first time, the photographs are collected to form a portfolio of Gautherot’s work in Brasilia, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the city’s inauguration.

Marcel Gautherot (1910–1996) spent some five decades photographing Brazil’s transformation
Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University
Sergio Burgi is Head Curator of Photography at the Instituto Moreira Salles in Rio de Janeiro

Also of interest
The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History
Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture
Modern Architecture: A Critical History by Kenneth Frampton
Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography
Le Corbusier World of Art series
Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century