Top photo > Mario Tirreli; all other photos > Getty Images via daylife

Brasilia’s Palácio do Planalto (“Palace of the Uplands”), the presidential office designed by Oscar Niemeyer, reopened on Wednesday, 25 August 2010, after seventeen months of renovations costing 100 million reais (US$ 56 million). It was supposed to have opened in time for the city’s 50th birthday party on 21 April, but well, you know …

Judging from these Getty Images, the renovation seems to be a success (although the Greenpeace protester in the last shot might disagree: GP wanted solar panels installed during the building’s rehabilitation).

Also miffed, it seems, is Niemeyer himself (if the quote from Veja, above, is to be believed). This seems strange because Niemeyer consulted on the renovation.

This was the Palácio do Planalto’s first facelift in 50 years. The plumbing and electrical were upgraded, new elevators installed, and the air conditioning system replaced. The headquarters of the federal government now has an expanded underground car park with 500 spaces, and the floor with the president’s office has received bullet-proof glass in the room where foreign dignitaries are received (one can never be too careful!). The façade of the building was also restored.

Here’s a bit more about the interior redo:

All the furniture in the building is now Brazilian-made, including many pieces that have been restored [such as] 400 tables, among them two used by president Juscelino Kubitschek, the man who built Brasilia. Another famous table in the Palace is a huge one used for cabinet meetings.

The very long table was designed by legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer — still working regularly at the ripe age of 102 — and can seat 38 ministers — 19 on each side.

The Palácio do Planalto has a curator, Cláudio Soares Rocha, and he says the idea is to give domestic artists and craftsmen the prestige and recognition they deserve. ‘The Palace, the president’s workplace, has an obligation to ‘sell’ Brazil,’ he says.

One of the objectives of the renovation was to reduce the interior dividing walls where cubicles and cubicles were created over the years to house a growing workforce that reached a total of almost 600.

The building is now more faithful to the original design, with more open spaces. And the number of workers in the building will be reduced to around 350.

Ivan Richard

Hall, 1960 photo Photo > Public Archives of DF

Inauguration of Brasília – reception hosted by President JK on 1960.04.21 @ the Palácio do Planalto Photo > Public Archives of DF

Aerial view of the Planalto Palace in 1960 Photo > Public Archives of DF

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