Oscar Niemeyer Quotes

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Oscar Niemeyer

Oscar Niemeyer in 1968
Born Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho
(1907-12-15)December 15, 1907
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Died December 5, 2012(2012-12-05) (aged 104)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Nationality Brazil
Alma mater Escola Nacional de Belas Artes (1934)
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Occupation Architect

1963 Lenin Peace Prize
1988 Pritzker Prize
1989 Prince of Asturias Awards
1998 RIBA Royal Gold Medal
2004 Praemium Imperiale


Palácio do Planalto
Palácio da Alvorada
Palácio do Jaburu
Cathedral of Brasília
National Congress of Brazil
Edifício Copan
Ibirapuera Park
Headquarters of the United Nations
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
Latin America Memorial
Gustavo Capanema Palace

Projects Museum of Modern Art in Caracas

The challenge of a cathedral is very good for architectural inventiveness.
When students leave college, they are like children who know nothing about the problems of life, and don't have a political stance.
Oscar Niemeyer
I am a Brazilian before I am an architect. I cannot separate the two.
Architecture will always express the technical and social progress of the country in which it is carried out. If we wish to give it the human content that it lacks, we must participate in the political struggle.
Oscar Niemeyer
Surprise is key in all art.
I enter my studio at 9 a.m. I have lunch here, I return right away to my work and I go out to dinner at 8 p.m. My daily tasks vary very much.
Oscar Niemeyer
I think of myself as no more than 60. What I could do at 60, I can still do now.
Oscar Niemeyer
Architecture is my work, and I've spent my whole life at a drawing board, but life is more important than architecture. What matters is to improve human beings.
Oscar Niemeyer
It is not with architecture that one can disseminate any political ideology.
Oscar Niemeyer
Of course, I have given my engineers some headaches over the years, but they go with me. I have always wanted my buildings to be as light as possible, to touch the ground gently, to swoop and soar, and to surprise.
Oscar Niemeyer
For me beauty is valued more than anything – the beauty that is manifest in a curved line or in an act of creativity.
Oscar Niemeyer
Curves are the essence of my work because they are the essence of Brazil, pure and simple.
Oscar Niemeyer
I like talking to priests, to Catholics. Everyone has their beliefs.
I search for surprise in my architecture. A work of art should cause the emotion of newness.
Oscar Niemeyer
It was the drawing that led me to architecture, the search for light and astonishing forms.
Oscar Niemeyer
I pick up my pen. It flows. A building appears. There it is. There is nothing more to say.
Oscar Niemeyer
Architecture is invention.
Right angles don't attract me. Nor straight, hard and inflexible lines created by man.
Oscar Niemeyer
Humanity needs dreams to be able to survive the miseries of daily existence, even if only for an instant.
Oscar Niemeyer
When I was very little my mother said I used to draw in the air with my fingers. I needed a pencil. Once I could hold one, I have drawn every day since.
Oscar Niemeyer
Form follows beauty.
My work is not about 'form follows function,' but 'form follows beauty' or, even better, 'form follows feminine.'
Oscar Niemeyer
Sometimes I lose a whole morning waiting on journalists and other people who look for me. But I always find some time for reading, talking to my friends and feeling what is happening in this world.
Oscar Niemeyer
The artistic capability of reinforced concrete is so fantastic – that is the way to go.
Oscar Niemeyer
There is no reason to design buildings that are more basic and rectilinear, because with concrete you can cover almost any space.
Oscar Niemeyer