The second case is Niemeyer’s so-called Catetinho (‘little Catete’), named after the president’s palace in Rio de Janeiro. This house for President Kubitschek was designed and constructed by Niemeyer in ten days in November 1956 from locally available materials. It is celebrated as the ‘first’ building in Brasilia, although that honour should really go to the favela of the Cidade Livre. 

Simple and rustic in appearance, it is located 26 kilometres from the city centre at the far end of the south end of the city, just beyond the airport, in what is still virgin forest. At the time of its construction, the plan of the city had yet to be determined; all that existed was a site. Exceedingly simple and rustic in appearance, it consists of two floors, and from a distance seems to reiterate the basic plan of the hotels in Ouro Preto and Novo Friburgo. Situated in a small clearing in the forest, it is two storeys in height, made almost entirely of wood, held up by a series of pilotis, with a projecting balcony along the length of the facade. The principal rooms, including the president’s bedroom and rooms for guests, are found on this floor. Meant originally as a temporary structure, it was declared a national monument in 1960, and has been kept as a museum ever since. It was cheap to build, and the cash to build it was supplied by ten friends of the president. He liked to cultivate an image of simplicity, and the Catetinho supplied an appropriate architectural representation. At the same time, it conformed to Modernist architectural principles. It was a politically expedient compromise, but also an agreeable building.
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