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Dissertation Medal Winner 2002

Lessons of a Modern Dystopia: Re-territorialising Brasilia

Part 1 Dissertation 2002
Tim Fleetwood
Curtin University Perth Australia
"We must invent and rebuild ex novo our Modern City like an immense and tumultuous shipyard, active, mobile, and everywhere dynamic, and the modern building like a grand machine"(Sant'Elia &Ugo Nebbia)
This dissertation is concerned with the city as an artefact; namely Brasilia as a modernist artefact. Through words, maps and images that explore the case of Brasilia, it is argued that the modernist doctrine of determining a new urban order solely via built form is ultimately futile. Social forces and processes rather than solely the modernist 'prophet-architect' are seen as critical determinants of the shape and development of modern cities. The thesis also suggests how new mapping practices can be a powerful tool in enabling the architect and other design professionals to engage with the contemporary urban landscape in more accommodating and complex ways.
"In the middle of an untamed virgin land,
In the most splendid of dawns,
Happy as a child's smile,
A dream transformed itself into a reality,
The most fantastic city came into being,
Brasilia, the Capital of Hope (School Hymn of Brasilia)

Tim Fleetwood


Tim Fleetwood's dissertation explores the paradoxes of the city of Brasilia through extremely inciteful words and images. The dissertation not only specifically investigates the successes and failures of the modernist designed city of Brasilia, but also more generally explores how we may now reflect upon this general era of faith in modernist ideologies of urban planning and architecture. The dissertation uses the visual and constructive
technique of mapping as not only a way of understanding current and historical urban form, but also as a tool of theoretical critique. We have nominated this dissertation because, at an undergraduate level, it exhibits a great depth and rigour of research, it is extremely confidently written, and is highly original in its use of image illustrations.

2002
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