By James Holston

The utopian layout and association of Bras?lia—the modernist new capital of Brazil—were intended to remodel Brazilian society. during this refined, pioneering learn of Bras?lia from its inception in 1957 to the current, James Holston analyzes this try to switch society through development a brand new form of urban and the ways that the paradoxes of making an imagined destiny subvert its utopian premises. Integrating anthropology with tools of research from structure, city reviews, social heritage, and significant concept, Holston offers a critique of modernism in line with a powerfully leading edge ethnography of the town.

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This project amounts to a proposal for transforming the social structure of capitalist society itself. For as the master plan eliminates private property as an institutional basis of both domestic organization and public order, the old distinctions between the public and the private disappear. At the same time, these distinctions become architecturally illegible. This effacement constitutes the second strategy for creating a new urban public. It consists in transforming the nature of the capitalist city through building types, urban forms, and architectural conventions that negate its systems of representation.

On the bas~s of this legitimation, CIAM proposals justify the right of planners to intervene in matters of land tenure when "the benefit of mankind" is at issue. Thus, the mobilization of land is at the basis of several key objectives in ClAM planning. First, ClAM planners believed that it would abolish the ultimate power of private interests to block planning initiatives (Le Corbusier 1957: art. 73). Without property restrictions, planners would be able to assume, as the foundation of their plans, a position of unchallenged authority over the destiny of the city.

Barshch and V. Vladimirov, ""m'me'ric drawing of dom-kommlma Stroikom. the Building ~Dm'mitll",of the Russian Soviet Federated Republic, 1930. From Kreis 1980. Fig. 4 Perspective drawing and plan of dOIll-kOlmmma type F developed by Stroikom. This was the prototype of the influential housing block designed by M. Ginsburg and 1. Milinls for the employees of the Finance Commissariat (Narkomfin). Moscow, 1929. From Kreis 1980. The Myth of the Concrete change and management constitutes a hidden agenda: while the plan suggests some of its aspects, its basic assumptions remain unstated.

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