Oscar Niemeyer’s Masterpieces of Brasilia
Earlier this week saw the sad passing of legendary Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer who best known for his involvement in the design of Brasilia, the planned city which became the capital of Brazil in 1960. His dedicated use of reinforced concrete allowed him to sculpt previously impossible shapes and expand the boundaries of building design. This modernist form would influence a new generation of architects in the second half of the twentieth century.
Source: Sylvain Bourdos
His earliest projects in Brazil were well received and Niemeyer would be invited to the board of consultants who would create the plans for the new United Nations headquarters in New York City. In 1956 he was personally asked by President Juscelino Kubitschek to take the role of chief architect for his new city of Brasilia. Niemeyer’s friend and former boss Lúcio Costa would become chief urban planner alongside him. Niemeyer would quickly design a number of government, commercial and residential buildings with the civic buildings in particular being experimental and all instantly recognisable as his creations with their curved features. The city would be constructed and ready in just four years.
“I deliberately disregarded the right angle and rationalist architecture designed with ruler and square to boldly enter the world of curves and straight lines offered by reinforced concrete.”
Brasilia has since become a large city of 2.5 million people with over 3.7 million within the metropolitan area. By housing all three branches of the federal government, the economy of the city is dominated by the services sector including banking, communications, legal and hospitality. It’s G.D.P. per capita (approximately 30,000 U.S. dollars) is the highest of all major Latin American cities. In 1987 it became the only city that century to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its cultural heritage.
Below we feature some of Oscar Niemeyer’s most famous buildings in Brasilia. Although his body of work is extensive given he continued working past his one-hundredth birthday, it was this project that truly defined his legacy on the world of architecture.
Cultural Complex of the Republic
Source: Florian Knorn
Source: Leonel Ponce
Source: Thum Fel
Cathedral of Brasília
Source: Ronaldo Lima, Jr.
Source: Rob Sinclair
National Congress of Brazil
Source: Marcelo Jorge Vieira