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.
Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1907. He studied at the Beaux Arts School in Brazil, where he graduated as an architect in 1934. He first worked in the offices of Lucio Costa and Carlos Leão; Niemeyer would subsequently work with Costa many times throughout his life.
In 1945, he joined the Communist Party of Brazil. In 1966, two hears after the military coup, Niemeyer opted to self-exile to France, where he also worked as an architect.
He returned to Brazil in 1985, when the military government ended, and lived there until his death.
During his life, he received countless recognitions and awards, including the Pritzker Prize in 1988.
In the development of his works, it's possible to observe the characteristics that would repeat throughout his long career. Each of Oscar Niemeyer's works displays a strong relationship with its site, adapting to its surroundings.
The use of pilotis and concrete also became distinctive Niemeyer markers.
One of the signature characteristics of his work - and that which perhaps had the greatest influence on modern architecture - was Niemeyer's use of the curve, particularly in his concrete structures. These designs broke ground, expanding our understanding of the formal and compositional potential of concrete.
In 1940 he met with the then-mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, with whom he would collaborate on the creation of his masterwork: Brasilia.
The capital of Brazil, founded in 1960, began to be developed in 1950, whenJuscelino Kubitschek was elected President.
Declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1987, Brasilia was the first modern city to receive this honor, due to its singular architecture and radical urban planning (designed by both Niemeyer and Costa).
Some of Niemeyer's works in Brasilia are:
Niemeyer also left an important built legacy in other cities:
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum – Niterói – BRAZIL United Nations Headquarters - New York City - USA Niemeyer Center - Aviles - SPAIN Pampulha Complex – Belo Horizonte – BRAZIL Headquarters of the French Communist Party – Paris - FRANCE Sambadrome – Rio de Janeiro – BRAZIL Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion - Parque de Ibirapuera - BRAZIL
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum – Niterói – BRAZIL
United Nations Headquarters - New York City - USA
Niemeyer Center - Aviles - SPAIN
Pampulha Complex – Belo Horizonte – BRAZIL
Headquarters of the French Communist Party – Paris - FRANCE
Sambadrome – Rio de Janeiro – BRAZIL
Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion - Parque de Ibirapuera - BRAZIL
Read more about Niemeyer here.