NIEMEYER, Oscar

(1907- )
   Oscar Niemeyer is perhaps the best-known Latin American artist of the 20th century. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Niemeyer graduated from the Escola de Belas Artes in 1934 with an engineering degree and became an architect in Brazil, spe-cializing in the use of reinforced concrete to design buildings in the International style. Niemeyer first worked with Lucio Costa, cred-ited with the introduction of modernism to Brazil. From there, Niemeyer adapted the International style aesthetic to suit his own cul-ture, and accordingly, he developed a more "free-form" modernism based on the theme of the Brazilian jeito, a sensual style best known in Brazilian music and dance.
   Early on, Niemeyer joined the Brazilian Communist Party and re-ceived numerous government commissions, the most famous of which was his construction of a new capital for Brazil, called Brasilia, located in the center of the country. This monumental proj-ect to relocate the entire government outside of Rio represents a bold plan of self-determination, testament to the incredible architectural idealism of the day inspired by the utopian city plans of Le Cor-busier and others. Now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the urban layout for Brasilia was designed by Niemeyer's friend and mentor Lucio Costa, and Niemeyer devoted much of his life to con-structing the buildings needed for the city. All of the buildings are unified with a modern style and white concrete materials set into a sprawling yet organized space that symbolizes modern efficiency. The National Congress Building is the centerpiece of Brasilia. It has a uniquely designed platform of windows supporting a flat roof with what appears to be a large white bowl resting on one side of the broad roof, balanced by a pair of tall columnar structures of office space on the other side. Here Niemeyer enriches the International style vocab-ulary with unexpected shapes to create a more plastic design that is poetic and expressive. The most innovative building in Brasilia, how-ever, is Niemeyer's cathedral, constructed in the shape of a hyper-boloid, or double curves that intersect, to create a dome. The struc-ture's white concrete ribs pinch inward to form the dome and then curve outward to create a modern, open lantern. The hyperboloid dome was first pioneered by Russian engineers and consists of stacked sections of hyperboloids. The city of Brasilia was inaugu-rated in the 1960s, and although many people were convinced of its failure, it gained in popularity over the years and is currently home to more than 2.3 million inhabitants.
   In 1947, Oscar Niemeyer was invited to teach at Yale University but was unable to obtain an entrance visa due to his political leanings. Vindicated a year later, Niemeyer then came to the United States as one of the internationally elected board members, together with Le Corbusier, in charge of overseeing construction of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, a complex completed in 1952. In 1961, the Brazilian president was deposed, and eventually Niemeyer moved to Paris, where he built the French Communist Party Head-quarters in the 1960s. Niemeyer then returned to Brazil in the 1980s, won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988, and when he was 89 years old, constructed perhaps his most unique building, the Con-temporary Art Museum in Niterói, outside Rio de Janeiro. This highly sculptural white concrete building resembles a saucer elevated on a massive pier, with entry ramps that lead up into the gallery level of the building. Meant to appear like a flower, the entire building is surrounded by a reflecting pool. Ultimately, Oscar Niemeyer was im-portant to the establishment of the International style in Latin Amer-ica, where his works merit further study; yet his later, more sculptural works are aligned with Expressionism.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Niemeyer, Oscar — ▪ Brazilian architect in full  Oscar Niemeyer Soares Filho  born Dec. 15, 1907, Rio de Janeiro, Braz.    Brazilian architect and early exponent of modern architecture in Latin America, particularly noted for his work on Brasília, the new capital… …   Universalium

  • Niemeyer,Oscar — Nie·mey·er (nēʹmī ər), Oscar. Born 1907. Brazilian architect. Influenced by Le Corbusier, he directed the creation of Brazil s capital, Brasília (1950 1960). * * * …   Universalium

  • Niemeyer, Oscar — ► (n. 1907) Arquitecto brasileño. Influido por la obra de Le Corbusier, fue director del equipo constructor de Brasilia …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Niemeyer — Niemeyer, Oscar …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Oscar Niemeyer — Niemeyer in the 1950 s Born December 15, 1907 (1907 12 15) (age 103) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Nationality …   Wikipedia

  • Oscar Niemeyer — Información personal Nacimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Niemeyer — Niemeyer,   Oscar, eigentlich O. Niemeyer Soares Filho [ su̯arɪʃ fiʎu], brasilianischer Architekt, * Rio de Janeiro 15. 12. 1907; arbeitete u. a. im Büro von L. Costa und war am Neubau des Erziehungsministeriums (1937 43) in Rio de Janeiro… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Niemeyer — (Oscar) (né en 1907) architecte et urbaniste brésilien, élève de Le Corbusier; auteur des princ. bâtiments de Brasília et du siège de l ONU à New York …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Oscar Niemeyer — Oscar Niemeyer, 1950er Jahre Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho (* 15. Dezember 1907 in Rio de Janeiro) ist ein brasilianischer Architekt. Er gilt als Wegbereiter der modernen brasilianischen Architektur. Niemeyer entwarf die Gebäude… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Oscar Niemeyer — Présentation Nom de naissance Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida de Niemeyer Soares Naissance 15 décembre 1907 ( …   Wikipédia en Français

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