Church Of S. Francisco, Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil Restaurant, Pampulha, Brazil Alvorada Palace, Brasilia, Brazil Planalto Palace, Brasilia, Brazil

About this talk

Running time: 23 minutes

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer sprang to international fame with his collaboration with Le Corbusier on Rio's Ministry of Education building in the late 1930s. This was followed by his curvaceous concrete Pampulha buildings - and then by Brasilia. But, disagreeing with later government thought, he came to Europe and worked in France, Portugal, Israel, Libya, Algeria; yet always continuing to build in Brazil.

His output was great. Being a very socially-conscious person, he is sad that his commissions have always come from governments and institutions or the rich, whereas he would like to have been instrumental in easing the conditions of the poor. Much has been written by and about this unassuming and humble man, this poet of the visual world.

But in this talk, you have Niemeyer himself, speaking haltingly in English to describe his work, plus a few words in French which comes more easily to him; and then making a statement in his native Portuguese: "When architectural form becomes beauty it becomes functional and therefore becomes fundamental", he says.

He chose to build with concrete because it allowed him to design curves like the curves of the whole universe. For him, architecture is the expression of our time.

Please note that a transcript of this talk is available - please contact us for further details.

Oscar Niemeyer

You might also be interested in...