Oscar Niemeyer

On this date in 1907, Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is an artist and highly accomplished architect who designed the majority of the public buildings in Brasília, Brazil’s capital, in the 1950s. His works include Itamaraty Palace in Brasília (constructed in 1962), the Cathedral of Brasília (1970), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niterói, Brazil (1996). Niemeyer is often referred to as Brazil’s greatest architect for his innovative modernist architecture. In 1988, he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize along with fellow architect Gordon Bunshaft, making Niemeyer the first and only South American to be awarded the Pritzker. In 2007, he published his memoir, The Curves of Time. Niemeyer was married to Annita Baldo from 1928 until her death in 2004, and they have a daughter, Ana Maria. Niemeyer married Vera Lúcia Cabreira in 2007. They live in Rio De Janeiro, in a house that Niemeyer designed in 1951. d. Dec. 2012

Niemeyer is an atheist who disliked having a picture of the pope displayed in his childhood home, according to a Chicago Tribune article (Oct. 4, 2005).

“A church is something very beautiful. It is nice when people feel happy in it. But I am not a religious man. Look at us, and then at the infinity of space. We are rather small insignificant creatures, wouldn’t you say?”

—Oscar Niemeyer, quoted in Oscar Niemeyer: Legend of Modernism, edited by Paul Andreas and Ingeborg Flagge, 1999.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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