6 December 2012
“Oscar Niemeyer was one of the last great modern masters alongside Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier.”
“He was an artist and poet and concrete was his natural material, allowing him to interpret his designs and free flowing ideas. The last Niemeyer building I visited was his Serpentine pavilion in Hyde Park which although small, was a seminal building. It communicated optimism, simplicity and beautiful proportions; it made one realise how over complex modern buildings are today.
His influence was felt around the world and nowhere more than his native Brazil, where his buildings represent the perfect marriage between architecture and the nature and culture of the country and its people. Oscar’s National Congress building has become a totem which represents democratic Brazil; it is an internationally well known image symbolising the country’s parliament. In a strikingly different manner, his Edificio Copan represents a great curving residential block in the centre of Sao Paulo, this sinuous and graceful building has inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers.
Oscar had strong social beliefs and was involved in the leftwing politics of the time. Sadly, I never had the chance to meet this great master, it was always one of my ambitions. The architectural community has lost a creative and cultural man today but his legacy will live on.”