I was deeply saddened by Oscar Niemeyer’s passing in December of last year. His work and persona are at the core of my affection for Brazil and the Brazilian culture. I think fellow iconic architect Norman Foster captured my admiration best in his tribute to Niemeyer:
“It is said that when the pioneering Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin visited Brasília, 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.” (Read other tributes here.)
Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra amazingly captured the vibrancy of Neimeyer in his recently completely 170 ft mural on Avenida Paulista, one of the main arteries of Sao Paulo. Here are some more shots I found on MyModernMet:
If ever you plan a trip to Brazil, I highly recommend spending a day in Brasilia to marvel at Niemeyer’s work. I lost my phone that day so I wasn’t able to take pictures but my memories of that day are one of my most vivid. More impressive is the sense of awe that I experienced as I walked into his Cathedral. My trip was April 2011 yet that feeling is just as powerful today.
Here are some of my previous posts about Niemeyer: