An Architect, A Legend: Oscar Niemeyer

December 10th, 2012


Last week, the world got a little sadder.  At the venerable age of 104, Oscar Niemeyer, one of the world’s most brilliant and renowned architects, passed away.  His masterful works of art have long impressed ViX designer Paula Hermanny, especially as his buildings have become landmarks of their own right in Brasil.  Each has an important contribution to the country’s urban landscape and each is a cultural site not to be missed:


Brasília (1957)

Undeniably the greatest work of Oscar Niemeyer, the country’s capital is home to several buildings that carry his signature architectural style.  Among them, the Cathedral of Brasilia, the National Congress, Alvorada Place, the Plateau and the Foreign Ministry.



Pampulha (1940)

A series of buildings, this project included the Saint Francis of Assisi church, a restaurant and dance hall, a yacht club, golf club and casino.  At the time, the curving architecture of the church was found to be offensive to conservative authorities; however, the church was still listed as the first modern building in Brasil.


UN Headquarters (1947)

Despite having his US VISA denied several times due to his political beliefs, Niemeyer joined the team of architects responsible for building the United Nations building in New York.


Copan Building (1951)

A landmark of the city of São Paulo, this structure prompted the architect to share that “it is not the right angle that attracts me,” but rather the free and sensual curve, much like those of a woman’s body.


Sambadrome (1983)

The “catwalk samba” as we know it today, turns 30 in 2013.  It’s undoubtedly responsible for transforming the cultural heritage of samba in Rio de Janeiro.



Museum of Contemporary Art, MAC (1991)

An iconic structure that compliments the natural scenery, Niemeyer designed the building that would house the major works of John Charles Goldberg, Frans Krajcberg, Tomie Ohtake, Abraham Palatnik, Mira Schendel and Carlos Vergara.


Each of these famous landmarks carries a bit of Niemeyer’s own genius and legacy.  They are testament to—in the architect’s own words—“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.”