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    We celebrate Oscar Niemeyer

    ‘Right angles don’t attract me. Nor straight, hard and inflexible lines created by man….what attracts me are free and sensual curves. The curves we find in mountains, in the waves of the sea, in the body of the woman we love.’

    51380 Oscarniemeyer

    News - 07.12.2018

    To the very end of his 104 years Oscar Niemeyer was an animated, charming and most of all passionate character. Passing away just before his 105th birthday the architect is celebrated for reinventing Brazilian architecture, contributing towards the development of Modernism and creating Brazil’s capital Brasilia. Once a student of Le Corbusier, he has inspired architects throughout his career and designed over 600 buildings, all beautifully preserving his youthfulness and love of life.

    Brasilia became Brazil’s capital in 1960, relocating from Rio de Janeiro to a more geographically neutral position in the center of the country. Prior to its birth, the land that would be known as Brasilia resembled a desert populated sporadically by animals. The President at the time, Juscelino Kubitschek, invited Lúcio Costa to organize the city’s urban plan, for which he chose a simple and functional layout. The role of the city’s architect was designated to the Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer; in his hands lay Brasilia’s architectural identity. As a contrived city Brasilia provided the country with an opportunity to reform its identity and become a symbol of the future. The capital is the only 20th-century city in the world that has been recognized by UNESCO, receiving a Historical and Cultural Heritage of Humanity status.

    There was pressure for Brasilia to become a regurgitation of past styles however, Niemeyer rejected any involvement with past architecture in order to create a clean start. His intentional shift away from colonial buildings was by no means a shun, but a way to preserve Brazil’s architectural past. The mixture of styles would have proved a confused blur: in-between architecture would not do.

    Niemeyer’s thirst for free, organic and natural forms led him towards the playful capabilities of reinforced concrete. By sculpting the material he began to explore its aesthetic potential and visual impact. Niemeyer’s Modernist contemporary, Le Corbusier, also embraced the technological advancements of concrete and developed a theoretical, conceptual and formal landscape informed by the material. Le Corbusier determined five architectural principles, including elevating the building off the ground with pilots, forming a free facade and having an open floor plan. He considered these principles to be the foundation of Modern architecture.

    Niemeyer’s commitment to Brazilian architecture along with his passion for life, beauty and curves have cemented his architectural legacy.

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