Monday, April 11, 2011

My God! The university of Brasilia is almost entirely destroyed by torrential rain!

Here's one of the labs where I used to teach programming :

Like most of the classrooms where I taught, this was in the basement.

The main building of the University of Brasilia, the ICC, is actually one of the worst designed modernist monstrosities I've ever encountered. Its combination of open "atrium"-type space and flat roofs conspired to funnel the rain from outside into the covered corridors and then down into the basement offices and classrooms. As Brasilia is in a region where it rains solidly and heavily for about 5 months a year this is a pretty disastrous bit of design.

I remember once my colleague showing me his underground office with water pouring through the ceiling onto his desk and computer.

However, I've never seen anything like these photos.

Best of luck to everyone trying to sort that out.


Felipe Sobreiro said...

That's right, Phil, check this video out: (it's 'ICC' by the way)!

Composing said...

Wow! That's insane.

How did it happen? There must have been some really extreme weather. (Even though I do think it's a damned stupid design for a building in that zone.)

(BTW : thanks for the ICC tip. Was just fixing that.)

BillSeitz said...

Oscar Niemeyer was the architect.

Composing said...

@BillSeitz Exactly!


How do you design a building where it rains in the basement?

Would it have hurt his aesthetic sensibilities - in a climate where tropical storms are as regular as clockwork - to have actually used a pitched roof? That took the water somewhere else?

And what about (radical, I know), a three storey building where a third of the classrooms and offices aren't underground and therefore potential ponds? And then, you know, they could have windows and stuff too.

I wouldn't mind if this was something cheap that they threw together because they couldn't afford better. But this is a flagship building in a flagship university in a flagship city designed by the national starchitect. WTF?