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7.07.2005 

genius of the week


oscar niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro Brazil in 1907. He graduated from the Escola Nacional de Belas Artas in Rio de Janeiro in 1934, and in 1935 he joined the office of Lucio Costa. In 1936 he joined the team of Brazilian architects collaborating with Le Corbusier on a new Ministry of Education and Health in Rio de Janeiro. This proved a formative experience for Niemeyer.

In 1942, Niemeyer created a series of recreational buildings which borrowed extensively from the expressive Brazilian Baroque style of architecture. In 1956 Niemeyer was appointed architectural adviser to Nova Cap - an organization charged with implementing Lucio Costa's plans for Brazil's new capital. The following year, he became its chief architect, designing most of the city's important buildings. The epoch of Niemeyer's career, these buildings mark a period of creativity and modern symbolism.

Niemeyer continued to work on Brazilia until 1964 when his political affiliation with the communist party forced him into exile in France. In the late 1960s he resumed his career in Brazil, teaching at the University of Rio de Janeiro and working in private practice. He was awarded the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architecture in 1970.

"Here, then, is what I wanted to tell you of my architecture. I created it with courage and idealism, but also with an awareness of the fact that what is important is life, friends and attempting to make this unjust world a better place in which to live."
— Oscar Niemeyer. The Curves of Time: the memoirs of Oscar Niemeyer, p176.

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