Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who is Oscar Niemeyer?

The name sounded familiar, but I wasn't really sure who Oscar Niemeyer was. After receiving three postcards from Brazil with his architecture on them, I decided it was time to do a little research.

Oscar Niemeyer is a Brazilian architect born in Rio de Janeiro in 1907. Before he was 30 he was an architect of some renown, designing the Brazilian pavilion at the New York World's Fair in 1939. Over the course of his career Niemeyer designed many famous buildings, including the United Nations headquarters in New York, the public buildings of Brasilia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Brazil, shown below.

Niemeyer was also a famous communist. He grew up during the time of the Russian Revolution
and joined the Brazilian Communist Party in 1945. When the Brazilian government was overthrown in a military coup in 1964, Niemeyer's leftist political leanings made him a target of the new dictatorship. In 1966 pressure from the government led Niemeyer to move to Paris, where he began a new phase of his career and also began designing furniture.

Niemeyer did not return to Brazil until 1985, when the government reverted to democracy. He continued his prolific career there, and at the ripe old age of 101, his works are still under construction around the world. Niemeyer's architecture is best described as graceful, elegant, and harmonious; his style combines Brazilian baroque and modernist features to create light, curved forms. He pioneered the use of reinforced concrete to form unusual curves or shells, a common feature in many of his works.


Pilland said...

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Bia Fonseca said...

Great work you did there!
Gonna add something that I think you might like to know.
The red is always present in his works, because, well, he's a communist.
Also, they're all curvy because his admiration of the woman's body and because he kind of doesn't really believe in straight lines. He says that there's no straight lines in nature so why should he use them?
There's a famous poem of his that goes something like this:
"It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by men. What attracts me is the free, sensual curve. The curves that I find in the hills of my country, in the course of rivers, in the waves in the see, on the body of the favorite woman. Curves are what the universe is made of, the curved universe of Einstein".

Hope you like it! =D

Bia Fonseca

Sheila said...

He also designed the cultural centre called Le Volcan at Le Havre. It looks a little like an elephant's foot - not my favourite piece of architecture, I'm afraid. I did get a card from Brazil showing the cathedral in Brazilia - that is lovely.

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