The Dislocation of Brazil’s Capital: a Long-Standing Project





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Dislocating the capital to Brazil’s interior highlands is a long standing project in the country’s history. The project was first linked to the transfer of the royal court from Lisbon to the Portuguese America, where a metropolis would be established in what until then had been a colonial purveyor of goods. Until 1953, the quest for a worthy capital involved many factors such as the establishment of a Portuguese empire in the Americas, Portugal’s repudiation of an Ancien Régime monarchy in the South Atlantic, the formation of a counter hegemony in a former colony, or the construction of a unified, republican, and modern Brazilian nation. As Lúcio Costa - the architect of the final iteration of Brazil’s new capital - once put it: “it was a century-old purpose, always postponed.”

How to Cite

el-Dahdah, F. (2010). The Dislocation of Brazil’s Capital: a Long-Standing Project. Docomomo Journal, (43), 14–21.







Author Biography

Farès el-Dahdah, Rice University

Is Associate Professor of Architecture at Rice University. He recently edited Lucio Costa, Arquiteto and co–edited Roberto Burle Marx 100 Anos: a permanência do instável. El–Dahdah is currently involved in the description and organization projects of archives held by the Fundação Oscar Niemeyer and the Casa de Lucio Costa, on the board of which he serves.