|Oscar Niemeyer - Brasil|
The legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. His exploration of the possibilities
of reinforced concrete resulted in spectacular buildings, which became highly influential in the late 20th and early 21st centuries - particularly in Brazil. His best known
works are de civic buildings for Brasilia - the planned city which became the new brazilian capital in 1960.
Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho (15.12.1907–05.12.2012) was born in Rio de Janeiro. After graduating from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes he
worked with his father in typography as well as a draftsman for local architectural offices. In the 1930s he worked on internship with Lúcio Costa. The first mayor works
by Niemeyer were in Pampulha, a suburb of Belo Horizonte. In the 1940s and 1950s, Niemeyer became one of Brazil's best known architects, working not only in Brazil,
but also overseas.
Lucio Costa was appointed to design the new headquarters of the Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro in 1936, when he was only 29 years old. He teamed up
with a group of young architects to design the building, and insisted that Le Corbusier should be invited as a consultant. Initially Oscar Niemeyer was not part of the team,
which consisted of Carlos Leão, Affonso Eduardo Reidy, Jorge Moreira and Ernani Vasconcellos. Niemeyer insisted to become part of the team and was acceptend by Costa.
As a consequence, he came into close Contact with Le Corbusier. Niemeyer made some significant changes to Corbusier's scheme, after the swiss master had departed.
Step by step he took charge of the project and assumed leadership for it in 1939. The Ministry building is mach larger in scale than anything Le Corbusier had built until then.
The building, which was finished in 1943, developed the elements of what was to become recognized as Brazilian modernism. Those elements were the Corbusian brise-solei,
local materials and techniques, bold colors and the tropical gardens.
Even before the Ministery Building was finished, Oscar Niemeyer met Juscelin Kubitschek in 1940 at the age of 33 years. At this time Kubitschek was mayor of Belo Horizonte,
te capital of the state Minas Gerais. As a consequence, Niemeyer was commissioned to design a series of buildings. These buildings, consisting of a casini, a restaurant/dance hall,
a yacht club, a golf club and achurch, later became known as the Pampulha architectural complex. All the mentioned buildings were distributed around a new artificial lake.
Additionally, a weekend house for the mayor was built ner the lake. After completion in 1943, the Pampulha architectural complex was represented in the "Brazil Builds" exhibition
in the New York Museum of Modern Art. As a consequence, the buildings received international acclaim. The Saint Francis of Assisi church, with its revolutionary structure in reinforced
concrete is sonsidered to be the masterpiese of the complex. Up to this time, only Auguste Perret in Casablanca and Rober Maillart in Zurich had experimente with the plastic freedom
Oscar Niemeyer went to New York City in 1947 to be part of the international team working on the desing for the United Nations headquarters. The Board of Design approved the
design by Oscar Niemeyer. Eventually Oscar Niemeyer gave in to pressure by Le Corbusier, and the submitted another project together. This Project, develped with Bodiansky
and Weissmann, combined elements from both schemes. In the end, and despite Le Corbusiers insistence to remain involved, the project was carried forward by the Director
of Planning (Wallac Harrisn and Max Abramovitz). Because of his affiliation to the Communist Party, Oscar Niemeyer produced very few desings for the USA. His membership
in the Communist Party usually preventend him from optainig a visa. For this reason he was not able to teach at Yale University. In 1953, at the age of 46 years, Oscar Niemeyer
should have become dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Once more, his political views prevented a professional option.
Soon after assuming the Brazilian presidency, Juscelino Kubitscheck visited Oscar Niemeyer in September 1956, and inivited him to desing the civic buildings for the new capital,
which was to be built in the centre of the country. Additionally, Niemeyer had to organize a competition for the urban planning of Brasilia. His friend an old master, Lucio Costa,
won the comission for the layout of the new capital.
His leftist ideology and his membership in the Brazilian Communist Party led Oscar Niemeyer to the decision to leave the country after the 1964 militar coup. Niemeyer moved
to Paris and opened an office on the Champs-Élysées. He found customers in diverse countries, for example in Algier, Italy and of course in France. During his exile in France,
Niemeyer started to design furniture. The Brazilian Dictatorship lastetud until 1985 and Oscar Niemeyer returned to his country, when the country turned towards democracy
under the rule of João Figueiredo. A few years later, in 1988, Oscar Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Oscar Niemayer remained active well into the 21st century. He maintained his studio in Rio de Janeiro, at the age of 100 he was still involved in diverse projects. His career
lasted for 78 years, in which he designed countless projects. On December 5 2012, Oscar Niemeyer died in Rio de Janeiro, just ten days before his 105th birthday.
1965 - 1981 Headquarters of the French Communist Party - Paris
1972 Borse de la Travail (Employment Office) - Paris
1987 Officebuilding for the Newspaper L`Humanité - Paris