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.