The architect Oscar Niemeyer has died, aged 104
Centenarian known for buildings with seductive curves, domes and idealistic aims
By Javier Pes. Web only
Published online: 05 December 2012
The remarkable Modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer has died just short of his 105th birthday. Born on 15 December 1907 in Rio de Janeiro, he achieved international acclaim when commissioned in 1956 to design monumental buildings in Brazil's new capital, Brasilia.
Niemeyer continued to work from his office opposite Rio’s Copacabana beach. The circular building echoed the curves that are emblematic of his architecture. He told The Art Newspaper in 2010: "I always say I’m 60, and I’m delighted to be able to do everything I used to do at that age. Work keeps me occupied. At my age, it’s better to be busy so as not to spend time thinking about trivia."
When asked about the importance of curves and domes in his buildings, which often suggested the female body, he said: "If we have a dome with empty space—generous space—then we want the best-looking shape. Sometimes it happens to coincide with a woman’s body, but that’s not our objective. We want a pure form… I always go on searching until I find the forms I want. I like pure forms that give a different feeling to the project."
He remembered that as a child he would make shapes in the air with his fingers, prompting his mother to ask: “What are you doing, boy?” He would reply: “I’m drawing,” recalling “I could picture the drawings in the air and correct them.”
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