Revue of Reviewers, 8-23-16
13 hours ago
Age getting you down?
Oscar Niemeyer married (for the second time) when he was 99.
The UN building was a project that he did together with Le Corbusier in 1947. Niemeyer, back then, was forty years old. Le Corbusier was sixty, and very much the senior man, but most of the design is attributed to Niemeyer.
This was Niemeyer’s first building on U.S. soil. It’s largely forgotten now, but it was a great sensation at the time. It’s the pavilion he and Lúcio Costa designed for Brazil’s participation in the 1939 World’s Fair.
Juscelino Kubitschek was the mayor of Belo Horizonte, the capital of the State of Minas Gerais.
Twelve years later, Niemeyer, by now rich and famous, completed this project,
the residence of the President, the Palácio da Alvorada,
the National Congress,
the Cathedral of Brasilia...
Viewed from above, Brasilia can be seen to have elements that repeat themselves in every building, giving it a formal unity. Niemeyer and Costa used the opportunity Kubitschek had given them to test new concepts of city planning.
Niemeyer’s politics, though, continued to be as controversial as his designs. (He’d joined the Brazilian Communist Party in 1945.)
He stayed away for almost twenty years, returning only in 1985.
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