By Andres Pachon
A. Pachon, a journalist and skateboard addict, is a full-time writer for SHIT® Magazine.
Some people tend to reduce Brazilian culture and nation to carnival, garotas and football; overall to Rio de Janeiro. There’s so much more to it than that, so let us begin with a very important fact: the capital of Brazil is Brasília, a very interesting city that was built and settled just 60 years ago in the shape of an airplane which currently is the third most populated city in all of Brazil. The nature of its inception was modern since the very beginning when it was designed by its architects, and now stands as a stronghold of skateboarding in Brazil and as one of the most important skateboarding cities for the global community. How and when did this happen? Stick around, we’re touring Brasília on deck.
Brasília Origins and The first settlements of Skateboarding
It was the idea of architects Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer to design and lay the foundations of a new city in 1956 for the national governance of Brazil in a more centric area inside the territory that stayed away from the coastline, unlike Rio and São Paulo. The downtown, government buildings and first residences were ready by 1960, and just a few years later a miracle happened:
Skateboarding arrived in Brazil and took over the new capital city’s streets in a matter of months. It was said during this period that everywhere you’d go there was a skateboarder trying flips in the buildings’ outer furniture or grinding the bus stations. Skateboarders described the city as a ‘great accident’, for the purpose of the layout of the urban area was never intended for skateboarding, and yet it almost looked like the designers had a skateboarding architecture in mind when they conceived it.
We mentioned the ‘airplane’ shape of the downtown. We are not kidding, it is literally the shape of an airplane; the idea was to make Brasília less chaotic than other Brazilian cities by organizing it in very distinctive sectors (wings): industrial, financial, health, government and residences. The pattern of the streets and avenues, the distribution of skyscrapers and the almost void public spots with strategically placed furniture somehow worked as giant skateboarding parks. Some even consider Brasília as the world’s biggest skate park because of this.
Architecture, Imagination and Skateboarding Friendly
The bus stations still stand today as an all-time classic and a local favorite skate spots that are all over the city. The iconic Setor Bancário (Banks District) has been overrun by skateboarders for years, and its daily shredded and grinded while giving a very colorful contrast that is the picture of skateboarders just a few meters away from formally dressed businessmen and women. The climate is usually moderate, sometimes very warm and sometimes cool. The Southern Wing districts have the most modern and vanguard plazas of all the city, so here is where skateboarding scene is the strongest.
Other unique skateboarding parks offer you different experiences, like Parque Ecológico Ermida Dom Bosco, a nature reservoir where you can see the local flora and plant species from the zone (Paraná Region) while shredding the parks and the concrete roads boarding the lakes. Another parks worth mentioning are the Águas Claras park, Candangolândia and Skatepark do Guará. Brasília is then a global skateboarding superpower by itself; no wonder that great Brazilian pro skaters like Felipe Gustavo and Lehi Leite came from here, from a skateboarding airplane.
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