They called him brilliant and ruthless, energetic and charming, Le Corbusier thought of him as baroque yet everyone else consider him a true master of the curve, an architect who brought fluidity to modern architecture. The extraordinarily long-lived Brazilian (he died in 2012 aged 104) was the first modern architect from a country outside Europe or North America to achieve global fame. According to Norman Foster, the city of Brasilia, which Niemeyer shaped “is not simply designed, it is choreographed”.
Born in Rio de Janeiro back in in 1907, Niemeyer studied architecture before notoriously modeling our world on the body of a woman. His influence spread much further than Brazil. This pioneer of modernist architecture designed the United Nations secretariat in New York, the Communist party headquarters in Paris and Serpentine gallery summer pavilion in Hyde Park, London.
Niemeyer has been called “the pessimist who loved life” and the “traditionalist for tomorrow” or simply the “Picasso of concrete”
Hugely influential since the 1930s, Niemeyer has been called “the concrete poet”, “the pessimist who loved life” and the “traditionalist for tomorrow”. He was even regarded as the “Picasso of concrete” and he is said to have influenced numerous starchitects -Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and Christian de Portzamparc to name a few.
“The work of Oscar Niemeyer is a celebration of technological knowledge that poetically transcends the everyday”, wrote Lauro Cavalcanti, the director of Rio’s Imperial Palace and author of a book on the architect. “His architecture introduces today the tradition of tomorrow.” A lifelong communist, Oscar Niemeyer won the gold medal from the American Institute of Architecture in 1970, the Pritzker architecture prize from Chicago’s Hyatt Foundation in 1988 and the gold medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1998. An artist in disguise, the Brazilian architect shaped mankind’s vision of the future like no other. “I search for surprise in my architecture. A work of art should cause the emotion of newness” he once said. Can you feel him?
PF Das Grotesk Pro