Remembering Oscar Niemeyer, 1908-2012

Oscar Niemeyer 1908 - 2012

Oscar Niemeyer died today at the age of 104, a life well lived and a man who worked through to his last days in life. "You may like my buildings or you may not, but you'll never be able to say you've seen anything similar before." So says one of the greatest modern Architects of this century and who's masterpiece Brasilia is an entire city carved out of the Brazilian interior 700 miles from the beaches of Rio.

exterior of the National Cathedral in Brasilia

The beautiful interior of the National Cathedral

Brasilia includes, among an entire city of buildings he designed, the National Cathedral - a crown-shaped structure of glass suspended between concrete struts which sweep upwards and inwards and then reach out to the heavens. Rather than dark and forbidding like the interiors of older cathedrals, the inside is awash with light.


Niemeyer was a lifelong Comunist, when a military dictatorship came to power in Brazil in 1964, he was forced to move to France. He did not return to his native Brazil until the 1980's. But he worked throughout his lifetime, he was one of the most innovative and daring architects of the last 60 years. He accepted that great buildings were often the reserve of the rich - but he hoped that he could provide joy and amazement for ordinary people. In that, he must surely have succeeded.

Such a beautiful visionary will surely be missed, he has inspired so many Architects but none so bold as himself. I once had a young neighbor, while living in NYC, who grew up in Brasilia. He was so greatly inspired that he was on his way to be an architect himself. It's amazing to imagine how many, many, people were inspired by Oscar's work. A life well lived I am sure!

read more on Oscar Niemeyer here
just google 'Brasilia' and click on 'images' to see more of Brazilia!