Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian architect, is one of the great architects of the 20th century. He is known for his buildings in Brasilia where he succeeded in devising forms for buildings destined to represent the state that remain equally poignant today. His architecture combines sculptural monumentality with classic order.He used abstract forms and curves since he was interested by free-flowing and sensual curves instead of straight angles or lines.

OSCAR NIEMEYER talking in his studio with a cathedral model

OSCAR NIEMEYER cathedral brasillia

OSCAR Niemeyer cathedral brasillia

Oscar Niemeyer was sure to make a statement with the powerful expression and unique form of the Cathedral of Brasilia, which led to his acceptance of the Pritzker Prize in 1988. The church bears much importance in the society, so the design had to have significance and personality against its surroundings.

metropolitan cathedral bulding by architec oscar niemeyer under construction

metropolitan cathedral bulding panoramic vie by architec oscar niemeyer

The cornerstone was laid in early September of 1958, when designs were beginning to be proposed and thoroughly planned out by Oscar Niemeyer. With a diameter of 70m, the only visible structure of the cathedral being sixteen concrete columns with a very peculiar shape. Reaching up towards the sky to represent two hands, the columns have parabolic sections.

Brasilia was developed from the ground up in 1956 with Lúcio Costa as urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as the principal architect. On April 22 of 1960, it formally became Brazil’s national capital.

Photograher Marcel Gautherot documented the creation of Brasilia from 1958 to 1962, producing some of the most iconic images of the city.


alborada palace by architect oscar niemeyer building detail

The Palácio da Alvorada is the official residence of the President of Brazil. The building was built between 1957 and 1958 in the mo. The building is listed as a National Historic Heritage Site.

The palace became symbol of the modern movement of Brazilian architecture, of cultural and technical progress of the country. Its columns became symbol of the city, and are present in the flag and coat of arms of the capital of the Republic. Niemeyer used a combination of marble, glass and water. The symmetry of the marble columns combines with the reflex in the glass facade and in the water mirror. The columns touch the ground in one vortex, passing an impression of lightness.

Oscar Niemeyer with Giorgio Calanca, Giorgio Mondadori and Luciano Pozzo in 1969.

Museu de Arte Contemporânea-Oscar Niemeyer

Contemporary Art Museum, Rio de Janeiro.

Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói Oscar Niemeyer

The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, also know as the MAC, was in 1996. This iconic saucer-shaped structure, situated on a cliffside above Guanabara bay in the city of Niterói, brilliantly frames the panoramic views of the city of Rio De Janeiro and encapsulates the simple, yet brilliant signature aesthetic of Niemeyer.

oscar niemeyer

Speaking of the MAC’s site, Niemeyer stated that the “field was narrow, surrounded by the sea and the solution came naturally.” This “natural,” intuitive solution was an elegant, curvy structure that rises from a water basin, creating an ambient sense of lightness and allowing for full panoramic views of Sugar-Loaf Mountain and the Guanabara bay.


Although the MAC is often described as UFO-like, Niemeyer’s poetic intention was for the form to emerge “from the ground” and “continuously grow and spread,” like a flower that rises from the rocks.

Neimeyer in Caracas, unfinished.