Dezeen Magazine

Palacio da Alvorada by Oscar Niemeyer

Brazil's president flees "ghosts" at his Oscar Niemeyer-designed home

The Brazilian president has moved out of his official residence in Brasília, designed by the late architect Oscar Niemeyer, after sensing "bad energy" and fearing it could be haunted.

Michel Temer, 76, and his wife Marcela, 33, have deserted the Palácio da Alvorada, completed by Niemeyer in 1958, because of its spooky atmosphere.

"I felt something strange there," Temer told local news source Veja. "I wasn't able to sleep right from the first night. The energy wasn't good."

"Marcela felt the same thing. Only [seven-year-old son] Michelzinho, who went running from one end to the other, liked it."

"We even started to wonder: could there be ghosts?" he added.

The first lady reportedly called in a priest to drive out evil spirits, but this was apparently unsuccessful.

Therefore the family has moved back into the smaller Jaburu Palace, which usually serves as the vice president's home. The house has been empty since Temer was elevated to the presidency, following the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff last year.

The 7,000-square-metre Palácio de Alvorada – or Alvorada Palace – is situated on a peninsula that juts into the Paranoa lake, and boasts a swimming pool, a chapel, a cinema and a heliport.

Its distinctive facade features a colonnade of swooping concrete elements, which were once scaled down to create a cross-shaped vase.

The palace is one of several modernist buildings designed by Niemeyer in the 1950s, including government offices and the impressive cathedral, as part of his masterplan for Brasília.

As Brazil's most famous architect, many of Niemeyer's projects across the country and internationally have been restored after his death in 2012, aged 104.

The most recent include his Haifa University library building in Israel and the Hotel Nacional in Rio de Janeiro.

Photograph is by Ricardo Stuckert.