Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer celebrates his 103rd birthday


"It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve — the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman."

As a resident of Niterói, thanks to the Museum of Modern Art, I have come to admire the work and temperment of Oscar Niemeyer.

Here is a very brief biography modified from here.  Also, the video provides an overview of some of Niemeyer's more famus projects.

Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro on the December 15, 1907.

After graduating from the National School of Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro in 1934 he joined a team of Brazilian architects collaborating with Le Corbusier on a new Ministry of Education and Health building in Rio de Janeiro. Oscar Niemeyer worked with Lucio Costa and Le Corbusier on this project until 1938.

The Corbusian influence is evident in the early works of Oscar Niemeyer. However, the architect gradually acquired his own style: the lightness of his use of curved forms created spaces that transformed the architectural scheme into something that was heretofore unknown; harmony, grace and elegance are the adjectives that are most often used to describe the work of Oscar Niemeyer.

In 1964, his political affiliation with the communist party forced him into exile in France. There Oscar Niemeyer constructed the building for the French communist party. With the end of the dictatorship Oscar Niemeyer returned to Brazil, teaching at the University of Rio de Janeiro and working in private practice.


Recognized as one of the first to pioneer new concepts in architecture in this hemisphere, his designs are artistic gesture, with underlying logic and substance.

His pursuit of great architecture linked to roots of his native land has resulted in new plastic forms and a lyricism in buildings, not only in Brazil, but around the world. Oscar Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988 in recognition of his lifetime of achievements.

Although semi-retired, Oscar Niemeyer still works at the drawing board and welcomes young architects from all over the world. Oscar Niemeyer hopes to instill in them the sensitivity to aesthetics that allowed him to strive for beauty through the manipulation of architectural forms.

This scant biographical statement does not do justice to Mr. Niemeyer.  If you are interested, I suggest you read his Wikipedia entry here.

Hey, today is Wednesday.  That means entrance to the museum is free.  I think I'll go take a look.  Maybe they will be hosting a birthday party...

1 comment:

Paper plains said...

Happy Birthday Oscar! Thanks for sharing, he is truly an incredible artist and defines everything that is Brazil; sensual, curved and beautiful!