The Pampulha Modern Ensemble, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, is among UNESCO's most recent additions to their World Heritage List. The project is representative of Niemeyer's contributions to 20th century architecture and a historically important example of modernism. Constructed around the man-made Lake Pampuhla in Brazil, the Pampuhla Modern Ensemble is a collection of leisure buildings built as part of an initiative to develop a suburban neighborhood around the lake. The complex includes a ballroom, yacht club, casino, a church, and a weekend retreat for the mayor. Pampuhla was one of Niemeyer's first projects, developed in 1940 when the architect was 33 years old. In fact, many consider it to be the first major example of modernism in the country by any architect. For the landscape of the complex, Niemeyer collaborated with landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, the first of several collaborations between the two pioneers of the modernist movement in Brazil. The buildings in the complex exemplify several of the design principles indicative of Niemeyer's work. One is the use of curved rather than straight lines, as seen in the domed cathedral and the freeform shapes of the ballroom. Another is the use of reinforced concrete as a building material, especially on the cathedral, which was considered innovative at the time. Its inclusion in an exhibit of Brazilian architecture at the MoMA brought the project international acclaim. Almost 50 years later, in 1988, Niemeyer was the recipient of the Pritzker Prize. His most famous work is within the city of Brasilia, which was founded in 1960 as the new capital of Brazil. Here Niemeyer designed the Cathedral of Brasilia as well as its Congress building and the Palacio de Planalto, the president's workplace. Brasilia is also a designated World Heritage Site, and the cathedral is especially considered to be a masterpiece. Niemeyer's work at Pampuhla, in fact, led to the architect working on Brasilia later in his career. The Pampuhla project was started by the mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, who would go on to be President of Brazil from 1956-1961. As president, Kubitschek would be responsible for the construction of Brasilia, and for hiring Niemeyer and urban planner Lucio Costa for its design. According to UNESCO, the project is a significant example of Niemeyer's ability to blend modernist architectural principles with the project's location, and shows the influence of Brazil's distinct climate and culture. Niemeyer was heavily influenced by Le Corbusier, whose work was also included on the World Heritage List in the latest round of additions.
Posts tagged with "Oscar Niemeyer":
While Americans trampled over each-other for the latest consumer electronics, flames tore through the late Oscar Neimeyer’s landmark Latin America Memorial complex (1987) in São Paulo, Brazil on Friday. Inaugurated in 1989, the complex was built to promote the social, cultural, political and economic integration of Latin America. Eighty-eight firefighters were reportedly dispatched to contain the blaze that consumed portions of the 909,000 square foot complex for up to five hours. According to a spokesperson for the memorial, the blaze originated from a short circuit in the 1,600-seat Simon Bolivar auditorium, which is said to house Neimeyer’s original plans for the building. None of the building’s employees were injured, though 25 firefighters were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, two of which remained in critical condition on Saturday. While local media reported that up to 90 percent of the building’s interior was destroyed as the fire consumed chairs, melted metal, cracked walls, and shattered glass panes, it is unclear to what extent the complex’s cultural collections were harmed. According to João Batista de Anrdade, CEO of the Latin American Memorial Foundation, an extensive cleanup of the complex was performed a few months ago, in which much of the foundations cultural and historical collection was removed. Foundation employees have been waiting for the structure to be confirmed safe before returning to assess the damage to the historic building and its collections. Whatever the damage may be, state officials have confirmed that demolition is not an option. “We will ensure the most prompt restoration of the auditorium,” Secretary of State for Culture, Marcelo Mattos Araujo told Brazilian media.
Famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died on Wednesday at the age of 104, just days before his 105th birthday. He had recently been hospitalized in Rio de Janeiro, fighting pneumonia and kidney failure. After nine decades designing, the architect couldn't put aside his work and continued on projects during his hospitalization. Niemeyer's illustrious career has spanned continents and centuries, and included many of the world's best known buildings from the capital of Brazil at Brasilia and the United Nations Secretariat in New York to the Edifício Copan in São Paulo and the Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio. His signature style of flowing curves, modern lines, and futuristic forms are instantly recognizable and have helped to shape the course of Modernism over the course of the 20th century. Many of his winding and seemingly gravity-defying buildings were executed in concrete, bringing a new softness to the material. He was awarded the Pritzker Price in 1988 for his soaring and light-filled design of the Brasilia Cathedral. "He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects," Lord Norman Foster remembered, lamenting the loss of an architectural legend. "For architects schooled in the mainstream Modern Movement, he stood accepted wisdom on its head. Inverting the familiar dictum that ‘form follows function’, Niemeyer demonstrated instead that, ‘When a form creates beauty it becomes functional and therefore fundamental in architecture’." Norman Foster's full tribute to Oscar Niemeyer: I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Oscar Niemeyer. He was an inspiration to me – and to a generation of architects. Few people get to meet their heroes and I am grateful to have had the chance to spend time with him in Rio last year. For architects schooled in the mainstream Modern Movement, he stood accepted wisdom on its head. Inverting the familiar dictum that ‘form follows function’, Niemeyer demonstrated instead that, ‘When a form creates beauty it becomes functional and therefore fundamental in architecture’. It is said that when the pioneering Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin visited Brasilia he likened the experience to landing on a different planet. Many people seeing Niemeyer’s city for the first time must have felt the same way. It was daring, sculptural, colourful and free - and like nothing else that had gone before. Few architects in recent history have been able to summon such a vibrant vocabulary and structure it into such a brilliantly communicative and seductive tectonic language. One cannot contemplate Brasilia’s crown-like cathedral, for example, without being thrilled both by its formal dynamism and its structural economy, which combine to engender a sense almost of weightlessness from within, as the enclosure appears to dissolve entirely into glass. And what architect can resist trying to work out how the tapering, bone-like concrete columns of the Alvorada Palace are able to touch the ground so lightly. Brasilia is not simply designed, it is choreographed; each of its fluidly-composed pieces seems to stand, like a dancer, on its points frozen in a moment of absolute balance. But what I most enjoy in his work is that even the individual building is very much about the public promenade, the public dimension. As a student in the early 1960s, I looked to Niemeyer’s work for stimulation; poring over the drawings of each new project. Fifty years later his work still has the power to startle us. His contemporary Art Museum at Niteroi is exemplary in this regard. Standing on its rocky promontory like some exotic plant form, it shatters convention by juxtaposing art with a panoramic view of Rio harbour. It is as if - in his mind - he had dashed the conventional gallery box on the rocks below, and challenged us to view art and nature as equals. I have walked the Museum’s ramps. They are almost like a dance in space, inviting you to see the building from many different viewpoints before you actually enter. I found it absolutely magic.
The health of Oscar Niemeyer is deteriorating according to a recent statement released by the hospital treating the 104-year-old architect in Rio de Janeiro. The world-renowned architect—known for his design of civic buildings in the capital city of Brasilia—landed in the hospital on November 2nd after he caught a cold that resulted in kidney failure. He took a turn for the worse last week when he experienced bleeding in his digestive track. The hospital says that he is now breathing with the help of machines, and is lucid. Up until recently, Niemeyer, who is less than a month shy of his 105th birthday, has continued to work on projects.
Though you might not know it to look at them, Oscar Niemeyer's new line of sneakers for Converse are apparently inspired by his country's greatest natural resources, namely its mountains, rivers, and its bodacious women. The Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneaker is still the classic shape, but on his version Niemeyer has emblazoned one of his most famous quotes, in Portuguese, of course. Here's the English translation:
"It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve – the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman."The solid red tongue is a reference to his Ibirapuera Auditorium in São Paolo, details of which appear in the low top, slip-on, and Chukka Boot, which comes in natural suede, a nod to the Tortura Nunca Mais (Torture Never Again) monument in Rio de Janeiro. The Chukka is also lined in white leather printed with an illustration that makes reference to the Landless Workers' Movement. It should come as no surprise that Niemeyer is making a political statement. The 104-year-old architect and former president of the Brazilian Communist party has devoted his long career to workers' rights as much as he has to architecture. Designing a shoe with a vague political message is all fine and well, but the Guardian's Oliver Wainwright is right to wonder what Niemeyer "would make of accusations that dozens of factory workers making Converse sneakers in Indonesia have been routinely abused on the job?"
Grab your 3D glasses, the artists at Visionaire, an art and fashion publisher, have added dramatic new depth to architectural photography. The work of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who brought Modern design to Sao Paolo, Brasilia, and Rio de Janeiro, has now been optimized for viewing through stereoscope lenses. Just as Niemeyer innovated architectural design, making soft, delicate curves out of his concrete buildings, the international team of artists at Visionaire are advancing stereoscopic design and traditional ways of viewing cities, neatly packaging 3D scenes of modern Brazil against Niemeyer’s landscape into lenticular cases featuring the art of Fernando and Humberto Campana and Beatriz Milhazes on its exterior. In collaboration, Paddle8, a website showcasing international art, has launched the same series of images of Niemeyer’s work by photographer Vicente de Paulo. Paulo’s once color images capturing both details and entire works of the architect’s buildings are now seen in black and white, but are all the more lively with their 3D manipulation. And it seems appropriate that Niemeyer’s portfolio would be viewed in this dream like manner often used to bring fantasy worlds to life, for as Niemeyer said, “architecture is fantasy.” Paddle8’s portfolio is available individually for $125 or together with Visionaire’s stereoscope and slides for $450. The Visionaire stereoscope and slides retail separately at $375.
We get a lot of Twitter followers every day (not to brag—but are you one of them?) and one particularly caught our eye today for its clever name, @formfollowshome. Turns out to be a simple blog, Form Follows You Home, the kind of no frills operation that would make Mies proud. All the blog is is a nice little catalog of one of our favorite things in the world: architecture videos. We'd seen quite a few of these, but this one of John Johansen taking Connecticut Public TV on a tour of his one-of-a-kind home was a particular standout. We got a tour ourselves, but here is proof for everyone to see that the man is a genius. After the jump, a two-parter with another grandmaster, Oscar Niemeyer, done by so-cruel-its-cool Vice magazine of all places.