At 104, Oscar Niemeyer is not dead. A friend of mine posted about his death on Facebook and I could not believe it, after all the man was 104 going on 64. It is disappointing and unethical to report someone dead when they are simply in the hospital. But that is what online reporting has come to. It’s all about being the first to report but not about being accurate.
If you don’t know who he is then you obviously don’t know the first thing about architecture.
Niemeyer is a legend and he will live on forever. I can just imagine a post-apocalyptic world where his buildings stand like a rose breaking through the concrete. Perhaps I am alone in thinking that architecture is the most important mass medium for communication in the world, but it is. And no man has communicated his love for his country and its fragmented identity more clearly than Niemeyer has for Brazil. I want to interview that man one day so may he continue to amaze us!
From A great interview:
Niemeyer still has many plans. “I do the same things I did when I was 60, so I’m only 60,” he says. “You have to keep your mind alive, work, help others, laugh, cry and experience life intensively. It only lasts for a brief moment.” For Niemeyer, who is an atheist, death is the end, and its approach has the effect of visibly driving him forward. “He doesn’t want to talk about death,” says Brito. “Oscar doesn’t believe that he will die.”
He used to create his designs at the drawing board. But nowadays failing vision has forced Niemeyer to reinvent his creative process. When a new project is in the works, he withdraws quietly to his office. “Architecture is in your head,” he says. Niemeyer pictures the building in his mind until he is convinced that he has found the right solution. Only then does he reach for a pencil and, with a few strokes, commit his idea to paper.
He is the patriarch of a large family in which everyone respects and admires him. A visit to the photography studio of his grandson, 53-year-old Kadu Niemeyer, in downtown Rio reveals the extent of his influence on his descendants. The balcony of the 12th floor studio has a view, across a jumble of buildings, of Niemeyer’s soldiers’ memorial on the shore. The drawings of women on the white walls of Kadu Niemeyer’s studio could only have stemmed from the hand of his grandfather. Stacks of catalogues depicting vaulted, white buildings lie on the floor, yet another sign of Oscar Niemeyer’s all-pervading influence.
All four of Niemeyer’s grandchildren work for him, turning his ideas into reality and managing them. Kadu’s job is to reproduce the work of his grandfather. He never studied photography, but his grandfather showed him the angles from which he wanted to see his works photographed.