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Paulo Mendes da Rocha: “Architecture Does Not Desire to Be Functional; It Wants to Be Opportune”

10:00 - 4 October, 2016
Paulo Mendes da Rocha: “Architecture Does Not Desire to Be Functional; It Wants to Be Opportune”, Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE), 1995. Image © Nelson Kon
Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (MuBE), 1995. Image © Nelson Kon

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil's most celebrated architects. And, in spite of the fact that very little of his work can be found outside São Paulo, his “Paulista Brutalism” is revered worldwide, earning him the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and, just last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal. In light of the RIBA Gold Medal news, as part of his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky here shares an interview conducted with Mendes da Rocha in 2014. The interview was conducted in Mendes da Rocha's office in São Paulo with the help of Brazilian architect Wilson Barbosa Neto acting as translator, and was originally published in Belogolovsky's book, “Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity.”

Vladimir Belogolovsky: In your short text "The Americas, Architecture and Nature," you say that “for Brazilians and Americans in general, the historical experience begins with the modern world. There is a difference between rebuilding old cities in Europe and building new cities in the Americas.” Could you elaborate this thought?

Paulo Mendes da Rocha: Of course, there is a difference in attitude when one builds in such a new place as Brazil or the American continent in general as opposed to Europe. The landscapes are different, cities are different, cultures are different. How can you compare St. Petersburg in Russia and Vitória, my hometown, in Brazil?

Paulistano Athletic Club, 1957. Image Courtesy of Paulo Mendes da Rocha Paulistano Athletic Club, 1957. Image Courtesy of Paulo Mendes da Rocha Capela de São Pedro, 1999. Image © Cristiano Mascaro Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 1998. Image © Nelson Kon +27

See Oscar Niemeyer's Unfinished Architecture for Lebanon's International Fair Grounds

08:00 - 12 August, 2016
See Oscar Niemeyer's Unfinished Architecture for Lebanon's International Fair Grounds, Theater. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim
Theater. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim

On the grounds of the Tripoli International Fair (Rashid Karameh International Exhibition Center) in Lebanon, one finds one of the five largest exhibition centers in the world [1]. The 15 structures, designed by legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1963, remain unfinished due to the project's abandonment during the country's civil war in 1975. 

Arch. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim Theater. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim Enclosed Theater. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim Theater interior. International Fairgrounds of Tripoli / Oscar Niemeyer. Image © Anthony Saroufim +24

Round-Up: The Serpentine Pavilion Through the Years

10:30 - 28 June, 2016
Round-Up: The Serpentine Pavilion Through the Years

Lasting for close to two decades now, the annual Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Exhibition has become one of the most anticipated architectural events in London and for the global architecture community. With this year’s edition featuring not just one pavilion but four additional “summer houses,” the program shows no sign of slowing down. Each of the previous sixteen pavilions have been thought-provoking, leaving an indelible mark and strong message to the architectural community. And even though each of the past pavilions are removed from the site after their short summer stints to occupy far-flung private estates, they continue to be shared through photographs, and in architectural lectures. With the launch of the 16th Pavilion this month, we take a look back at all the previous pavilions and their significance to the architecturally-minded public. 

Serpentine Pavilion 2013. Image © Neil MacWilliams Serpentine Pavilion 2000. Image © Hélène Binet Serpentine Pavilion 2006. Image © John Offenbach Serpentine Pavilion 2015. Image © © Iwan Baan +34

Louis Vuitton's Cruise '17 Collection Unveiled at Niemeyer's Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

08:00 - 9 June, 2016

Oscar Niemeyer’s modernist icon, the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (MAC) in Brazil, recently played host to the Louis Vuitton 2017 Cruise Collection showing. The show coincided with the museum's 20th anniversary, marking its reopening after extensive renovation. The remarkable nature of the building has drawn crowds to the outlying site, across the Guarana Bay from Rio de Janeiro, since its inauguration in 1996. The convergence of the fashion community to the landmark shows its smaller scale Bilbao effect in force.

Petterson Dantas’ Illustrations Are a Colorful Ode to Oscar Niemeyer

14:00 - 19 March, 2016
Petterson Dantas’ Illustrations Are a Colorful Ode to Oscar Niemeyer, © Petterson Dantas
© Petterson Dantas

Petterson Dantas was born in Caicó, Brazil and has lived in Natal for 17 years. An architect and urban planner, he graduated from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. His series "Ode to Oscar" illustrates important works of Oscar Niemeyer, depicting the contrasts and the beauty of the buildings designed by Brazil's most famous architect.

Read the description of the project and see the illustrations below.

Gallery: Oscar Niemeyer’s Cathedral of Brasília Photographed by Gonzalo Viramonte

12:00 - 19 February, 2016
Gallery: Oscar Niemeyer’s Cathedral of Brasília Photographed by Gonzalo Viramonte, © Gonzalo Viramonte
© Gonzalo Viramonte

This series of images captures Oscar Niemeyer’s Cathedral of Brasília through the lens of Argentine architect and photographer Gonzalo Viramonte

A graduate of Argentina’s National University of Córdoba, Viramonte started photographing landscapes and small towns while traveling by bicycle through his country. Today, he is dedicated to architectural photography, and manages a Flickr account where you can see all of his work. 

© Gonzalo Viramonte © Gonzalo Viramonte © Gonzalo Viramonte © Gonzalo Viramonte +36

Oscar Niemeyer Through the Lens of Haruo Mikami

12:00 - 15 December, 2015
Oscar Niemeyer Through the Lens of Haruo Mikami, National Congress. Image © Haruo Mikami
National Congress. Image © Haruo Mikami

Architecture photographer Haruo Mikami has shared with us a series of black and white photographs of some of Oscar Niemeyer’s most important works in Brasília. From the Cathedral of Brasília to the Alvorada Palace and the National Congress, see some of the Brazilian architect’s most iconic works after the break. 

Itamaraty. Image © Haruo Mikami National Museum. Image © Haruo Mikami Church of Our Lady of Fatima. Image © Haruo Mikami Alvorada Palace. Image © Haruo Mikami +27

Spotlight: Oscar Niemeyer

08:00 - 15 December, 2015
Spotlight: Oscar Niemeyer, Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Brasilia
Cathedral of Brasília. Image © Brasilia

Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, or simply Oscar Niemeyer, was one of the greatest architects in Brazil's history, and one of the greats of the global modernist movement. After his death in 2012, Niemeyer left the world more than five hundred works scattered throughout the Americas, Africa and Europe. Niemeyer attended the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro in 1929, graduating in 1934. He began working with the influential Brazilian architect and urban planner Lúcio Costa also in 1932, a professional partnership that would last decades and result in some of the most important works in the history of modern architecture.

AD Classics: National Congress / Oscar Niemeyer

05:00 - 21 September, 2015
AD Classics: National Congress / Oscar Niemeyer, © Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com
© Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com

Located at the head of the abstract bird-shaped city plan by Lúcio Costa, and as the only building within the central greensward of the eastern arm of the Monumental Axis, the palace of the National Congress (Congresso Nacional) enjoys pride of place among Oscar Niemeyer’s government buildings in Brasília. The most sober of the palaces on the Plaza of the Three Powers, the National Congress reflects the strong influence of Le Corbusier, while hinting at the more romantic and whimsical forms that characterize Niemeyer’s trademark Brazilian Modernism.

Zaha Hadid: “Niemeyer Had an Innate Talent for Sensuality”

14:00 - 12 September, 2015
Zaha Hadid: “Niemeyer Had an Innate Talent for Sensuality”, © Steve Double
© Steve Double

The first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2004, Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid tells newspaper El País that she was fortunate as a child to have traveled with her parents and seen some of the world’s most impressive works of architecture and engineering feats. 

Awed by the Mosque of Cordoba, Hadid says that the contrast between the darkness and the marble of the central church left a lasting impression, making this one of her favorite works to this day. 

Six Essential Materials & The Architects That Love Them

01:00 - 5 March, 2014
Six Essential Materials & The Architects That Love Them

In case you missed it, we’re re-publishing this popular post for your material pleasure. Enjoy!

To celebrate the recent launch of our US product catalog, ArchDaily Materials, we've coupled six iconic architects with what we deem to be their favourite or most frequently used material. From Oscar Neimeyer's sinuous use of concrete to Kengo Kuma's innovative use of wood, which materials define some of the world's best known architects?

Norman Foster on Meeting Niemeyer

00:00 - 13 January, 2014
Norman Foster on Meeting Niemeyer, Oscar Niemeyer and Lord Norman Foster in 2011. "He was in wonderful spirits—charming and, notwithstanding his 104 years, his youthful energy and creativity were inspirational.". Image © Foster + Partners
Oscar Niemeyer and Lord Norman Foster in 2011. "He was in wonderful spirits—charming and, notwithstanding his 104 years, his youthful energy and creativity were inspirational.". Image © Foster + Partners

In this interview, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Q&A: Norman Foster on Niemeyer, Nature and Cities", Paul Clemence talks with Lord Foster about his respect for Niemeyer, their meeting shortly before the great master's death, and how Niemeyer's work has influenced his own.

Last December, in the midst of a hectic schedule of events that have come to define Art Basel/Design Miami, I found myself attending a luncheon presentation of the plans for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, by Foster + Partners. While chatting with Lord Foster, I mentioned my Brazilian background and quickly the conversation turned to Oscar Niemeyer. Foster mentioned the talk he and Niemeyer had shortly before the Brazilian’s passing (coincidentally that same week in December marked the first anniversary of Niemeyer’s death). Curious to know more about the meeting and their chat, I asked Foster about that legendary encounter and some of the guiding ideas behind his design for the Norton.

Read on for the interview

Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete

01:00 - 18 December, 2013
Material Inspiration: 10 Projects Inspired by Concrete

To celebrate the launch of ArchDaily Materials, our new product catalog, we've rounded up 10 awesome projects from around the world that were inspired by one material: concrete. Check out the projects after the break...

Remembering Neimeyer: The Works of a Master

00:00 - 15 December, 2013
Remembering Neimeyer: The Works of a Master, ©  Flickr User el_floz
© Flickr User el_floz

Many architects enter the profession with hopes of creating something that outlives them, something that is bigger than themselves, that can advocate for a better world. Oscar Niemeyer was such an architect, one who fought for designs that would serve everyone. The master of Brazilian architecture passed away one year ago after complications from a previous kidney condition. In honor of what would have been his birthday today, we’ve rounded up a few of his masterpieces, from his elegant and curvy Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, his collaboration on the United Nations Headquarters in New York, the traditional spectacle space of his Sambadrome, the spiraling Niemeyer Center in Aviles, and the powerful parabolic expression in his Cathedral of Brasilia. Enjoy!

A Year Without Oscar

00:00 - 5 December, 2013
A Year Without Oscar, Niemeyer observa maquete da escola projetada em Belo Horizonte (MG). Image Courtesy of ON
Niemeyer observa maquete da escola projetada em Belo Horizonte (MG). Image Courtesy of ON

It's been exactly one year since the world first mourned the passing of a great master of 20th century architecture: Oscar Niemeyer. 

After 104 years of life, the renowned architect left a profound legacy. His works  - known for their impressive curves, embrace of  light, and profound relationship to their surroundings - made him an icon. Not just in Brazil, but the world.

El Memorial de América Latina después del Incendio

00:00 - 3 December, 2013
El Memorial de América Latina después del Incendio, © Ricardo Matsukawa / Terra
© Ricardo Matsukawa / Terra

Después del incendio, el futuro del Memorial de América Latina de Oscar Niemeyer, es incierto.

De acuerdo con el presidente del Memorial, João Batista de Andrade, se está esperando que terminen las investigaciones del Departamento de Bomberos y la Policía antes de determinar qué acción se tomará: "Tenemos que saber cuál es el impacto del fuego en la estructura del edificio. Si tenemos que demoler, lamentablemente, tendrá que hacerse. Si la seguridad lo requiere, vamos a demoler".

Más detalles, después de la pausa...

© Átila Salviano Átila Salviano / vc repórter © Vagner Magalhães / Terra © Ricardo Matsukawa / Terra © Tedy Colombini / vc repórter +13

LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: The United Nations Headquarters

01:00 - 6 October, 2013
LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: The United Nations Headquarters, © LEGO®
© LEGO®

LEGO® has officially announced the next addition to their architecture-inspired products: The United Nations Headquarters. Standing alongside New York City’s East River, the United Nations Headquarters is a beacon of modernism and international collaboration, designed by a team of multinational architects including Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. Scaling 5 inches high x 8 inches wide x 6 inches deep, this representation of the UN Headquarters costs  $49.99. 

Check out more about the building and its history here.

Night Photographs of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia Win at the 2013 International Photography Awards

00:00 - 3 October, 2013
Night Photographs of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia Win at the 2013 International Photography Awards, © Andrew Prokos
© Andrew Prokos

Night photographs of the Brazilian capital created by architectural photographer Andrew Prokos are among this year’s winners at the International Photography Awards competition. Entitled “Niemeyer’s Brasilia” the series of photographs capture the surreal architecture of Oscar Niemeyer, who shaped the Brazilian capital for over 50 years.

More fantastic photographs and information on the awards after the break.

© Andrew Prokos © Andrew Prokos © Andrew Prokos © Andrew Prokos +7