Superquadra 205/206 – Brasília, Brazil - Atlas Obscura

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Superquadra 205/206

The most unusual block in Brasília. 


Though it may not have the beaches and buzzing nightlife of Rio de Janeiro, Brasília remains unrivaled in the urban planning category. Brasília is a planned city, built in the early 1960s as a utopian project for the capital of the future. The city was divided into 96 superquadras, or super blocks, envisioned as small self-contained and self-sufficient neighborhoods with uniform buildings. In a city known for its modernist architecture and sectorized living, it is both curious and unsurprising when a place in Brasília gets famous for being different.

The North Wing is located on the left side of the Plano Piloto, and its commercial superquadras are called CLN, where the N stands for North. Commercial avenues around the world usually face the streets, with windows to showcase goods for passersby either driving or walking. But in the case of CLN 205/206, the storefronts face the back. In the place of mere functionality, the commercial buildings of CLN 205/206 offer an architectural experience.

The quadra was designed by Doramélia da Motta for Terracap. She had the idea for a different superquadra while she was still an architecture student at University of Brasília.  Superquadra 205/206 is a peculiar building. The architecture resembles a UFO intervention, much like the rest of the city, but the strange buildings in this quadra look like that for a reason. The walkways allow integration with the gardened rooftops and secluded inner patios that resemble Morrocan riads.

CLN 205/206 has been nicknamed “Northern Babylon” by locals because of its foreign-looking buildings, where thriving vegetation peeks from the arched Neo-classical windows. Besides, the quadra’s staple labyrinthine stairs seem to have jumped out of an Escher print. Tucked away in a nook of this unusual city, CLN 205/206 is a curious gem. 

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