Oscar Niemeyer: Commemoration Of A Pioneer

This week the architect Oscar Niemeyer shortly came into the news. A fire hit the Latin America Memorial in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which was designed by him.

Contemporary Art Museum, Niteroi, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

This incident coincidentally happens in the same week that we commemorate the death of the architect.

Niemeyer was one of the pioneers of modern architecture and the use of concrete in – for that time – unusual, flowing, curvy shapes. The architect passed away at the age of 104, today exactly one year ago.

National Museum in Brasilia, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

Niemeyer’s Projects Around The World And In Brazil

During his life Niemeyer designed around 600 projects around the world. His name is probably most connected to the Brazilian capital, Brasilia. This city was developed to replace Rio de Janeiro as Brazil’s new capital in the fifties of the previous century.

Congres in Brasilia, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer

Brasilia was erected in less than a decade and built upon a somewhat utopian plan. The city was divided in different zones, such as residential zones, working zones and more. The public buildings designed by Niemeyer resembled these ideas. Even by the standards of today, the city centre has a very modern, futuristic feel to it.

Palacio in Brazil, Brasilia designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

During our three months stay in Brazil, we had the chance to see quite many of his works, among which in Brasilia. Here we couldn’t help but notice the communistic utopic features of the city too. Considering that Niemeyer had a largely leftist ideology and close ties with the Brazilian Communist Party this is not that surprising after all.

Cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil, designed by Oscar Niemeyer.

When the Brazilian coup d’etat took place in 1964, Niemeyer left the country for Europe. He only returned 21 years later. Back in his country of birth he continued with his architectural work until his death in 2012.

Niemeyer designed various buildings in Brazil, like the Oscar Niemeyer Museum (2002) in Curitiba, the Contemporary Art Museum (1996) in Niteroi and also the Latin America Memorial (1989), that partially burned out this week.

OCA Auditorium In Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, designed by Oscar Niemeyer