Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, or simply Oscar Niemeyer, (December 15, 1907 – December 5, 2012) 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.
The name Niemeyer stands for one thing above all: curves. Whether undulating lines, soaring domes, or swooping pillars that repeat in perfect rhythm, his designs reject “the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man” in favor of “the curved Universe of Einstein,” as he wrote in his 2000 memoir The Curves of Time. Indeed, a late interview with him was headlined “the architect who eradicated the straight line.”
But what happens to an artist who becomes wedded to a certain philosophy of form and pursues it exclusively for decades; does it become restrictive? I wonder whether Niemeyer ever questioned his monogamous dedication to the curve. Perhaps a certain restlessness drove the uncharacteristically sharp-edged plan of the Tel Aviv house he designed for hotel magnate Yekutiel Federmann—or perhaps it reflects the political and personal upheaval of the moment.
This week we have prepared a selection of photographs in which reflections in water is used as the main compositional element. In these images, the surface qualities of the water play a fundamental role in giving the composition its final effect—either acting as a perfect mirror or giving a diffuse touch. Below is a selection of 10 images from prominent photographers such as Lu Hengzhong, Yao Li, and Nico Saieh.
As a trailblazer of Brazilian Modernism, Oscar Niemeyer is celebrated for his bold, sinuous forms, and his use of the “the liberated, sensual curve.” Paul Goldberger described it best when he wrote that “Niemeyer didn’t compromise modernism’s utopian ideals, but when filtered through his sensibility, the stern, unforgiving rigor of so much European modernism became as smooth as Brazilian jazz.”
When Georgio Mondadori, chairman of the Italian publishing house Mondadori, commissioned Niemeyer to design the company’s new headquarters in 1968, he wanted the building to look like the Itamaraty Palace (also known as Palace of the Arches) in Brasília. Niemeyer agreed, but given his playful spirit, he deliberately deviated from the earlier design and proceeded to build what he would later identify as his favorite of the projects he completed in Europe. Read on to see a striking set of sixteen photographs of the Mondadori building by Milan-based photographer and visual artist Karina Castro, who was commissioned by Mondadori to capture their headquarters over 40 years after the building's completion.
One of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s final designs, a 12-meter-diameter glass and concrete sphere perched on the corner of a factory building, is set to be completed in Leipzig, Germany, reports Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Central German Broadcasting, MDR).
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?
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 . 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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...
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!