Oscar Niemeyer 1907 - 2012
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed some of the 20th Century's greatest modernist buildings, has died aged 104 in his home city of Rio de Janiero.
Best known as the architect of the futuristic Brazilian capital, Brasilia, built on the empty central plains as a symbol of the nation's future, his distinctive style is defined by stark concrete and sweeping curves.
RIBA President Angela Brady said of Niemeyer:
'Oscar Niemeyer represented one of the last links with the founding members of the Modern Movement, having worked in 1936 with Le Corbusier on designs for the Ministry of Health and Education building in Rio de Janeiro.
As a communist for most of his working life, he went into voluntary exile in Europe in 1964, following a right-wing coup. In France he built the headquarters of the French Communist Party (1966) and the Cultural Centre at Le Havre (1972).
He returned to Brazil in 1970 to produce one of his most daring structures: the Museum of Contemporary Art, a characteristic inverted dome balanced on a cliff at Niterói close to the sea entrance to Rio.
In 2003, he finally fulfilled his desire to build in the UK, albeit with a temporary pavilion for the Serpentine Gallery in London.
Oscar's buildings express beauty, elegance, daring, innovation and function. He has striven to embody a vision of architecture as inspired structure, and has collaborated closely with engineers in order to bring this about.
Oscar was an extraordinary man and architect who leaves behind an amazing legacy. He will be greatly missed by the architecture profession.'
View a gallery of some of Oscar Niemeyer's iconic Brasilia architecture.
Oscar Niemeyer was 1998's RIBA Royal Gold Medal recipient.
Justine Sambrook, curator at the Robert Elwall Photographs Collection, looks at Niemeyer's work through the RIBA collections.
Building the century: Oscar Niemeyer
The RIBA's Tony Chapman spoke to Oscar Niemeyer about his work, collaborating with Corbusier and the relationship between architecture and society.