When one thinks of Brazil, one generally thinks of Rio de Janeiro, SÃ£o Paulo, the Carnival, the beautiful beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana, capirinhas and soft rhythms of bossa nova.Â Yet, Brazil also brings images of beautiful architecture, and one Brazilâ€™s most celebrated architects, Oscar Niemeyer.
Oscar Niemeyer â€™s flowing designs infused Modernism with a new sensuality and captured the imaginations of generations of architects around the world.Â He was among the last of a long line of Modernist true believers who stretch from Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe to the architects who defined the postwar architecture of the late 1940s, â€™50s and â€™60s.
Niemeyer is best known for designing the government buildings of BrasÃlia, a sprawling new capital carved out of the Brazilian savanna that became an emblem both of Latin Americaâ€™s leap into modernity and, later, of the limits of Modernismâ€™s utopian aspirations.Â Designed to be a utopian city of the future, young BrasÃlia (founded on April 21, 1960) was the result of a collaboration between three native talents: architect Oscar Niemeyer, architect and urban planner Lucio Costa, and landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx.
Niemeyerâ€™s curvaceous, lyrical, hedonistic forms helped shape a distinct national architecture and a modern identity for Brazil that broke with its colonial and baroque past.Â Yet his influence extended far beyond his country.Â Even his lesser works were a counterpoint to reductive notions of Modernist architecture as blandly functional.
â€œNiemeyerâ€™s Brasiliaâ€, the series of night photographs that capture the surreal architecture of Oscar Niemeyer in Brazilian capital by architectural photographer Andrew Prokos are among this yearâ€™s winners at the International Photography Awards 2013 competition. (the photos shown in this blog post are the award winning photos by Andrew Prokos)
â€œI became fascinated by Oscar Niemeyerâ€™s buildings as works of art in themselves, and the fact that Niemeyer had unprecedented influence over the architecture of the capital during his long lifetimeâ€ said photographer Andrew Prokos. Niemeyer, who passed away in 2012 at the age of 104, was Brazilâ€™s best known architect and the designer of the United Nations buildings in New York.
Next time you are in Brazil, visiting the beautiful beaches or Rio, take a day trip to iconic Brasilia as well.
Books on Oscar Niemeyer in our library:
Related blog post: