O modernista
December 5, 2012 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Word from Rio de Janeiro is that Oscar Niemeyer, celebrated Brazilian Modernist architect, co-architect of the UN headquarters in New York, and designer of its capital city, Brasília, has passed on at the age of 104. The NYTimes obituary has links to his famous buildings in Brazil, but a more comprehensive link of Brasília can be seen at a 50th anniversary retrospective at Wallpaper.
posted by stannate (27 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Flashman at 6:54 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Sys Rq at 6:55 PM on December 5, 2012


......II......
posted by jimmythefish at 6:59 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


:(
posted by just_another_one at 7:11 PM on December 5, 2012


He was about to turn 105 in 10 days

nytimes link for future reference
posted by just_another_one at 7:20 PM on December 5, 2012


Thanks for the catch, just_another_one. I *swear* I pasted that link into the write-up...
posted by stannate at 7:23 PM on December 5, 2012


I have been thinking alot about his French Communist headquarters in Paris, it is an aggressive building in an anceint culture, and it might strike one as a metaphor for the progression of leftist thought.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:24 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


A true master, and a true son of Brazil.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:39 PM on December 5, 2012


He designed this one at 103.
posted by texorama at 8:18 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:32 PM on December 5, 2012


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posted by Joe Chip at 8:33 PM on December 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


. Impressive that he was still designing so recently, at that age. We should all live so long and productively and well.
posted by immlass at 8:33 PM on December 5, 2012


Brasilia's interesting -- a mix of absolute sameness and madcap all-over-the-placeness.

Niemeyer designed most of the fun bits, though. Just look at this building and try to tell me you don't want to climb it.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:40 PM on December 5, 2012


Not many architects of Niemeyer's caliber left. They would design everything from cities to individual buildings, often even designing the interior itself. He belonged to a generation of architects that designed their new era boldly and on a grand physical and conceptual scale. The last decades' increase in professional specialization, work rationalization and demands for business efficiency has made it difficult for architects to reach the heights of Niemeyer and his breed.

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posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:55 PM on December 5, 2012


Brasilia is a city I very much want to see in person. I've seen the photos, I've read the critiques, and someday I want to look at it myself.
posted by Forktine at 9:16 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by mumimor at 10:40 PM on December 5, 2012


He designed this one at 103.

Unfortunately, in the short period since its opening, the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center has had a turbulent history, courtesy of Spain's credit crisis (and some particularly narrow-minded local politicians).

At least it has got its original name back before Niemeyer's demise...
posted by Skeptic at 3:06 AM on December 6, 2012


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posted by safetyfork at 4:30 AM on December 6, 2012


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posted by dreaming in stereo at 8:10 AM on December 6, 2012


It was a design for its time. For today's time it sucks although suburbanites might appreciate it.
posted by JJ86 at 8:29 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a few days ago I was obsessively looking through pictures of Brasilia. Truly stunning.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:32 AM on December 6, 2012


Brazilian Pavilion, World's Fair (1939)

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi (1940)

Edifício Copan (1951)

Casa das Canoas, Niemeyer's personal home (1952)

Museu de Arte Moderna em Caracas (1954)
posted by Egg Shen at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must say, if I had to pick an arbitrarily imposed architectural style to use for public buildings, I would choose classicism and toss all the ugly, sarcastic, modern buildings linked on this page into the dustbin.

But I'm glad we had a few decades for people like Niemeyer to make their mark, if only to let us appreciate the 3000 year old classic motifs again.
posted by General Tonic at 9:50 AM on December 6, 2012



Brasilia is a city I very much want to see in person. I've seen the photos, I've read the critiques, and someday I want to look at it myself.


Go to Albany. The state capitol has the same je ne sais quois, but you don't need a jet plane to get away from it.
posted by ocschwar at 12:07 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I must say, if I had to pick an arbitrarily imposed architectural style to use for public buildings, I would choose classicism and toss all the ugly, sarcastic, modern buildings linked on this page into the dustbin.

You know who else...?

(Post-war modernists had their reasons.)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2012


Not to criticize the architecture which is great but like FL Wright, Niemeyer had a dated view of urban planning that does not work in a modern era that is trying be less car-centric. If you try to get around Brasilia by foot, which I have tried, even the central area is too much of an ordeal. Some areas are very poorly connected for pedestrians. Quite honestly, the city wasn't built for humans.
posted by JJ86 at 1:49 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's true enough. There were days when I wished there was a bus to take me to the bus stop.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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