Metropolitan Cathedral in Brasilia
One of Niemeyer’s best known buildings is the Cathedral, with its “Crown of Thorns” cupola. The building, whose cornerstone was laid in 1958, was not completed until 1970. It has 16 poured concrete pillars with glass in between. Inside sculptures of angels are suspended over the nave with steel cables, while the altar was donated by Pope Paul VI.
The building, which won him the 1988 Pritzker Architecture Prize, is estimated to have close to 1 million visitors a year, the most visited tourist attraction in Brasilia. Tony Chapman, head of awards at Riba, called it an “extraordinary” building.