Oscar Niemeyer, National Congress and Cathedral Under Construction, Brasilia, (1958)
The epic story of the new capital hid the tragic fate of many of the workers who took part in it: their exclusion from the city that they had helped to build. As well, the difficult complex construction process to which inexperienced rural workers were subjected in this project highlighted the contradictions between the design’s good intentions and the actual working conditions on the building site. The construction, especially that of the inverted dome of the National Congress, emphasized the opposition between the suppleness of Niemeyer’s design and the workload demand of those building it.
"While visiting Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2011 I became consciously aware of the incredibly beautiful abstract patterns reflected in the windows of the Downtown. I started to associate to the way metal and glass, like structure and openness, represent the tension between elements in modern architecture. While the metal framework demands conformity, the glass reflections seem to explode, almost in defiance of this structure and, in the end, seem to transcend their captors."