Oscar Niemeyer, one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture passed away yesterday at the age of 104. He dies on 5th December 2012, ten days before his 105th birthday. He, who had outlived his contemporaries to become the world’s oldest practicing architect of international stature, died Wednesday at a Rio de Janeiro hospital due to respiratory infection which is common for people of his age. For architects like us who usually do not have a healthy life due to this career, it would be almost impossible to have live that old, but Niemeyer did it. Hence, his career spans for many decades and his contribution to modern architecture is extensive and priceless. His works have also influenced many other younger architects who admired his unique design approach.
(Image source: http://adbr001cdn.archdaily.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/1351111137____oscar_niemeyer-530×321.jpg)
During his long and productive life, Niemeyer was revered as well as ridiculed for his daring designs, but the creativity and sheer volume of his works ultimately spoke for him. In 1988, at 80, he shared architecture’s biggest prize, the Pritzker. This award is the biggest achievement to any architects, and is like a Noble prize to people in this career. He is a passionate man and he lived in protest of the right angle “and buildings designed with the ruler and the square.” He had once said this, that generally explains his design interest and direction:
I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein.
For that approach, he had produced many daring and distinctive designs. Some of his famous works are National Congress of Brazil, Cathedral of Brasilia, United Nations headquarter at New York City, Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, and two buildings in dedication to himself, Oscar Niemeyer Museum in Brazil and Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre at Spain. His exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly infuential on the architecture of the late 20th and early 21st centuries too. An image of National Congress of Brazil, a masterpiece designed by him:
(Image source: http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/1brazil120612.JPG)
The BBC’s obituary of Niemeyer noted that he “built some of the world’s most striking buildings – monumental, curving concrete and glass structures which almost defy description”, also acclaiming him as “one of the most innovative and daring architects of the last 60 years”. The Washington Post described him as “widely regarded as the foremost Latin American architect of the last century”. His death is certainly saddening as the world losses another great architect that had shaped our built environment for so many years. His contribution to the modern architecture will never be forgotten, and he is truly blessed for have live to such an age that many couldn’t do so. May he rest in peace.
(Information source: http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-oscar-niemeyer-20121206,0,554245.story)