Niemeyer, Oscar

Description:  The Creator´s Life and Works. Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the 15th December 1907.
Author:Gerald Haider
ISBN: 1568985894   ISBN: 1568985894   ISBN: 1568985894   ISBN: 1568985894 
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Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the 15th December 1907. He graduated from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro in 1934.

At this time he joined a team of Brazilian architects collaborating with Le Corbusier on a new Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro. He worked with Lucio Costa and Le Corbusier till 1938 on this project.

While working on this project he met the mayor of Brazil's wealthiest central state, Juscelino Kubitschek, who would later become President of Brazil. As President, he appointed Niemeyer to be the chief architect of Brasilia, a project which occupied all of his time for many years.

Only one year later, 1939, he and Costa designed the Brazilian pavilion at the New York World Fair. The series of buildings Niemeyer created till 1942 were heavily influenced by the Brazilian baroque style in architecture.

Although associated primarily with his major masterpiece, Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil, he had achieved early recognition from one of his mentors, Le Corbusier, going on to collaborate with him on one of the most important symbolic structures in the world, the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

In the 1950's, he designed an Aeronautical Research Center near Sao Paulo. In Europe, he did an office building for Renault and in Italy, the Mondadori Editorial Office in Milan and the FATA Office Building in Turin. In Algiers, he designed the Zoological Gardens, the University of Constantine, and the Foreign Office.

From 1957 till 1959 Niemeyer was appointed architectural advisor to Nova Cap- an organisation charged with implenting Luis Costa´s plans for Brazil´s new capitol. The following year he become Nova Cap´s chief architect, designing most of the city´s important buildings. The epoch of Niemeyers career, these buildings mark a period of creativity on modern symbolism.

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

He received the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architectur in 1970. Influenced by Le Corbusier, and using the material and building language of the International Style he enriched it with the natural, flowing curves of South American architecture and developed his typical fluid and sculptural style.

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. For his lifetime achievements, the Pritzker Architecture Prize is bestowed.

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


Gestaltungsraster. Ordnungssysteme für Schrift
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We are grateful to Gerald Haider for contributing this biography.

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