Brazil is known for its soccer, samba and beautiful women; but not much is considered when it comes to longevity of what is really good. To be good at something is not for many. Those considered good in Brazil in general reached this status within few time, like brazilian soccer players (Ronaldo, for instance). But what nobody remembers are the idols that are not only good for a while, but those that are good for ever.
Brazil is not a place that has got many worldwide personalities, of people that are in the history books, for arts, music or sports, like the exceptional Pelé, considered as the king of soccer, or even one of the most important architects of the XX century: Oscar Niemeyer. He, who died last year, on the 5th of December 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, when he was 105 years old, left behind an incredible legacy that could cause the envy of any of those who fastly reached the top and were forgotten.
Considered in Brazil the main character of modern architecture, Oscar Niemeyer is known for projecting the main civic buildings in Brasília, Brazil’s capital since 1960, built in the 1950s by the then president Juscelino Kubitscheck who chose this architect to do these projects, considered nowadays art pieces and a national treasure.
Niemeyer studied at Escola Nacional de Belas Artes nowadays part of UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro) and by that time the architecture course was restructured by the school director Lúcio Costa, who introduced european modern concepts to it. Those used ideas such as “technical truth” and “simplicity” based in concepts of the german Bauhaus Walter Gropius. Influenced by Le Corbusier, also a modernist, Niemeyer has always left his own characteristics in his projects, these are noticed through the abstract forms and the curves that can be seen in most of his work. He was considered to insert this sensual element in architecture, what influenced people all over the world.
“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein” (Oscar Niemeyer)
His first modernist project was the Ministry of Education and Health headquarters’ in Rio de Janeiro, in 1939, and afterwards he did the Conjunto Arquitetônico da Pampulha, in Minas Gerais. The then capital major Juscelino Kubitscheck had Niemeyer project a big private complex in the suburbs of Belo Horizonte. This complex gahters a casino, a restaurant, a Function Hall, a yacht club, a golf club and a church. This project in Pampulha allowed him to overcome contemporary architecture’s monotony, which, by that time, had a wave caused by a misinterpretation of functionalism that was believed to limit it for it dogmatizes the shape and functions of what is built, totally ignoring the plasticity the concrete provides.
After Oscar Niemeyer joined the communist party he had to leave the country, and found exile in Paris. His office was in the Champs-Élysées and there he designed the University University of Science and Technology-Houari Boumediene, in Algeria , besides designing the headquarters of the French Communist Party.
Oscar’s beautiful work can be seen all over the world all will be forever his legacy. Some other works this artist accomplished were: ONU’s NY headquarters (project he did alonside with Le Corbusier), the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion in Hyde Park, London, for which he was called the architecture Picasso by its director Julia Peyton-Jones. Also the Óscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, in Spain/ 1989, the Mondadori publishing company headquarters, in Italy. Besides it he also did, in January 2010, the Auditorium Oscar Niemeyer Ravello, that has got a shape that reminds us of an eye, with its walls make of glass it also allows you to have a beautiful landscape as a background.
Curitiba is Considered “Oscar Niemeyer’s city” for it hosts most of the buildings done by him, all of them present curves, a strong characteristic of this artist’s productions. with this because it contains the largest collection of sumptuous curves buildings, designed by the architect. The Museum was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and he maintains a permanent exhibition of his designs, pictures and models. Altogether, the museum has 17,000 meters of exhibition area. Also the Latin America Memorial in Sao Paulo, built in 1989, was created to develop awareness in Brazilian integration with the different peoples of Latin America, and the Ibirapuera Park, which are other works of the architect as the Biennial Pavilion and Museum of Modern Art (MAM). Moreover, the center of São Paulo has the legendary Copan Building, the famous residential building in the shape of “S” dated 1951. Already in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, is one of his best-known buildings – the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), the famous “spaceship” by the sea. On his website you can have umaverdadeira history class, passing by the main facts and the work of Niemeyer.
Besides the giant architectural heritage, Oscar Niemeyer has also published several books on architecture and design, which have helped to increase its list of awards and decorations, totaling more than 30.
Oscar Niemeyer was the last modernist artist alive that Brazil had, and certainly appear to tarry any other idol that is very good, with a century-old history and so influential for Brazil.
Valor Econômico S.A