Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer dies

Dec. 6, 2012 at 8:10 AM
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RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazilian architect known for embracing the curved line in his Modernist designs has died, his doctors said. He was 104.

The medical staff at the Hospital Samaritano in Rio de Janeiro said Niemeyer died Wednesday of a respiratory infection, The New York Times reported.

Born Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho Dec. 15, 1907, the architect's career was launched when he was hired as a draftsman directly after graduating from the National School of Fine Arts. He was asked to contribute to the design of the Ministry of Education and Health's headquarters in Rio, a building that also included the work of famed Modernist architect, Le Corbusier.

Perhaps the largest project in his long career was designing many of the utopian-inspired structures of the country's capital, Brasilia, in the 1950s. He designed several buildings in the city's center, including the distinctive Metropolitan Cathedral, an open, airy structure made of sweeping spikes of concrete that form a crown reaching toward the sky. The city of 2.5 million is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To him, "form follows beauty."

"For me," Neimeyer once said, "beauty is valued more than anything -- the beauty that is manifest in a curved line or in an act of creativity."

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