I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects. Few people get to meet their heroes and I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with him in Rio last year.
To honor the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who died today, we’ve selected few of his inspiring quotes. Take a moment to read his words, which truly advocate architecture’s higher purpose, and remember the great work he accomplished…
Perhaps his most famous quote, which not only describes his work but also his way of life: “I deliberately disregarded the right angle and rationalist architecture designed with ruler and square to boldly enter the world of curves and straight lines offered by reinforced concrete. […] This deliberate protest arose from the environment in which I lived, with its white beaches, its huge mountains, its old baroque churches, and the beautiful suntanned women.”
More after the break:
With his incredibly prolific portfolio of architecture, sculpture, furniture and design, the late Oscar Niemeyer truly left his mark on Brazil, and the world, over his 104 years. The Brazilian great is proof that quantity needn’t destroy quality.
Check out the extensive list of Niemeyer’s major works, after the break…
Vinicius de Moraes, a Bossa Nova legend (and composer of “The Girl from Ipanema”), met Oscar Niemeyer at the Café Vermelhinho in Rio de Janeiro in the 1940s. They first worked together on de Moraes’ play, “Orpheus of Conceição,” in 1956 (Niemeyer designed the set). In light of Oscar’s death, we bring you this short text, translated from the original Portugese, that Vinicius wrote in the 60s about his dear friend, Oscar.
There are few testimonials I have read that are as exciting as Oscar Niemeyer’s account of his experience in Brasília. 1 For those who know only the architect, the article could pass as a self-serving defense – the justified revenge of a father who, despite his gentle temperment, fought for his child[, his Brasilia - a city] at the mercy of the world. But for those who know the man, the article takes on even more dramatic proportions. For Oscar is not only the opposite of an activist, he’s one of the most anti-self-promotional beings I’ve met in my life.
His modesty isn’t, as it so often is, a shameful form of vanity. It has nothing to do with his down-to-earth expertise, which Oscar has thanks to his professional value and possibilities. It is the modesty of a creator truly integrated with life, who knows that there is no time to lose, that we need to build beauty and happiness into the world, because the individual is fragile and precarious. This poignant sentiment, of the fragility and precariousness of things, plays in Oscar in a higher key (only further highlighting the dignity of this man and artist); it’s never been a self-serving sentiment, but one for mankind in general, for whom he hopes to make a better future.
After being hospitalized, recovering, being hospitalized again, and then making a near-full recovery (even working from his hospital bed), famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has now taken a sharp turn for the worst.
Rio de Janeiro’s Samaritano Hospital reports that the 104-year old has suffered kidney failure and is bleeding from his digestive tract; he is lucid, but breathing with the aid of machines.
Story via the Huffington Post
Don’t believe the rumors! Despite Oscar Niemeyer’s age and three recent hospitalizations, the legendary Brazilian architect is in full recovery after being admitted to the Samaritan Hospital in Rio de Janeiro for dehydration and renal complications last week.
Niemeyer’s doctor, Fernando Gjorup responded to the rumors by stating: “Risk of death? In no time was it considered. Of course the hospitalization of a patient of his age is serious, but we did not think about that.”
Even at 104 years old and from a hospital bed, Niemeyer remains active with his work. Vera Lucia Niemeyer, Niemeyer’s wife, stated: “He has several projects and wants to know about the progress of each.”
Story via Publico
According to the Associated Press, the 104-year old is in stable condition following the insertion of a gastric tube. The hospital statement says Niemeyer’s ”lucid and breathing without the aid of machines.” No release date has yet been set.
Story via the Huffington Post
Niemeyer, who will turn 105 this December, was admitted to the same hospital for about 2 weeks in May after suffering from pneumonia.
According to The Huffington Post, Niemeyer’s doctor, Fernando Gjorup, has said that the architect is “fine” and in stable condition, although “a bit dehydrated. He entered the hospital complaining of nausea, but little else.”
Planned for completion in 2014, the iconic United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) is in the middle of a $1.876 billion refurbishment project, known as the Capital Master Plan, which seeks to update the aging building with a more safe, modern and sustainable work environment. Located on the 18-acre site that was donated by John D. Rockefeller in the 1950s, the Manhattan UNHQ was designed by an international team of eleven architects who worked together in a post-World War II world to create an landmark building through collaboration rather than competition.
Continue reading for more details on the Capital Master Plan.
As a follow up to last weeks coverage on the Rio Carnival 2012 kick-off in Oscar Niemeyer’s newly renovated Sambadrome, we would like to share with you this stunning tilt-shift video capturing the essence of Rio de Janeiro and the colorful parade of the Carnival. You will also catch a glimpse of famous mosaic sidewalks of the Copacabana Beach Boardwalk designed by the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
*This video was filmed during Carnival of 2011.
Danica Ocvirk Kus shared with us her photographic work for Oscar Niemeyer‘s Niemeyer Center in Aviles, Spain. Known her work across Europe, her talent is very eloquently represented through these images of this highly admired and appreciated institution for the city. A full gallery of images can be viewed after the break.
Brightly colored confetti and sequined samba queens covered the newly renovated Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, marking the beginning of the 2012 world-famous annual Carnival. Designed by Brazil’s legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Sambadrome was originally constructed during the first government of Leonel Brizola (1983 – 1987) in an effort to provide Rio with an urban facility that would serve as the permanent location of the traditional spectacle of the samba school’s parade. Inaugurated in 1984, the Sambadrome is also known as the Catwalk Professor Darcy Ribeiro out of respect to the man who moved the parade to its current site. Continue for more.
The last part of our Brazilian day, commemorating the 104th birthday of the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and the launch of ArchDaily Brasil: An exclusive interview with Mr Niemeyer himself.
- How did you start your office?
My office in Copacabana -the only one that I have- was opened and organized to meet, since the early 50s, the ever growing demands.The last 13 years I have been the only architect here “at work”; the initial stage of the projects is done by me, up to the basic project, and then I trust its development by other architecture offices, specially the ones directed by my colleague and friends Jair Valera and my dear granddaughter, Ana Elisa.
- For you, what is Architecture?
In my opinion, architecture is invention. And under this prism is how I do my projects, always searching for beautiful, expressive, different and surprising solutions.
Architecture is all about passion. Sometimes it can be very complex, slow, even painful… but our passion will make us push until the end, to see our creations come to reality no matter what. This passion turns into an entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration and the desire to use our knowledge to influence our society and to improve our built environment. For me, one of the best living examples of the passionate architect is the Brazilian master Oscar Niemeyer.
Today the master turns 104 years old, and he is still working at his office in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro, from where we interviewed him, delivering projects in Brazil and around the world. So passionate about his work, that he can’t stop.
Devoted to architecture and women, he was able to express his passion for both.
mountains/waves/women = curves
It is not the right angle that attracts me. Nor the straight line, tough, inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free, sensual curve. The curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the waves of the sea, in the clouds of the sky, in the body of the favorite woman. Of curves is made all the universe.
- Oscar Niemeyer
The Niemeyer Center in Aviles, Spain is soon to be shut down for several months due to disagreement over its finances and irregularities in its spending. The cultural center opened a mere 8-months ago, designed by Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer and has been an admired and appreciated institution for the city. More after the break.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Berlin. The twentieth century changed nearly all cities, but perhaps none more so than Berlin. From its destruction in World War II that left few historic buildings intact to its division until 1989 that brought together the architecture of two competing ideologies into one city, Berlin’s modern and contemporary architecture speaks to a past that seldom accompanies such recent additions. The city is filled with new and wonderful architecture that might not have found space in other cities in Europe. With that in mind, we were unable feature all our readers’ suggestions on the first go around. We will be adding to the list in the near future, so please add more of your favorites in the comment section below. Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help.
The Architecture City Guide: Berlin list and corresponding map after the break.