Thursday, May 24, 2012

Starchitects - Oscar Niemeyer

I've already touched on Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei, and a few other famous architects a few times. But I want to give a greater representation of their work and what it contributes to (or takes away from) the community. We start with Oscar Niemeyer.

It's been said that Oscar Niemeyer can design his buildings in an hour. This was meant as a compliment, although one could certainly take it as a reflection of the lack of seriousness in his work.

It has also been said (by Niemeyer himself) that his buildings comment on politics, economics, and the culture as a whole. This is certainly true. But what do his buildings say? And how do they impact the community? Those are the important questions.

One of the answers is that there is very little comfort in his buildings. Instead, they confound the middle class and please the elites who have attached themselves to interesting buildings. Of course, what is interesting today is boring tomorrow. What is trendy today is dated in 20 years.

A sampling... 

 A UFO that landed upside down - the NiterĂ³i Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A lifeless scene in Brasilia, a city in a country that is full of life, and a city that Niemeyer helped plan and design.

The Copan Building in Sao Paulo, Brazil. More undulating concrete.

A Soviet building in the communist east, or the JK Building in Belo Horizonte, Brazil? It doesn't even matter.

And there you have it! A sampling of what Oscar Niemeyer, a celebrated architect who never met a concrete truck he didn't like, has contributed to this world.



  2. Or to put it another way: Yuck!