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Master Architect Oscar Niemeyer Dies

Brazil's legendary artist, who spanned the 20th century's major architectural movements with a timeless style that infused the geography and culture of his native country with European modernism died Wednesday at the age of 104.
December 6, 2012, 5am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Drew Edward Davies

"[O]ne of the 20th century's most important architects," Niemeyer designed such seminal buildings as the United Nations building in New York and several masterpieces for Brazil's "futuristic" new capital of Brasília. "Mr. Niemeyer often said his greatest inspiration was the undulating landscape of his birthplace, Rio de Janeiro. He used reinforced concrete to trace lines he saw in Rio's sloping hills and its scalloped beaches," notes John Lyons.

"I am attracted to free-flowing sensual curves," he wrote in his memoir, 'The Curves of Time.' "The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean and on the body of the beloved woman."

Niemeyer's biggest impact on modern architecture may have been in reserving a seat at the table for voices from the developing world. "Normally all architectural critique is viewed from the West. However, Niemeyer's work obliges us to reverse this flow and understand Brazil as a new global cultural center," said Alfredo Brillembourg, an architect and Columbia University professor.

Archinect has compiled images of some of the architect's best known works.

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Published on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 in The Wall Street Journal
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