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Oscar Niemeyer and the Architecture of Brazil Paperback – October 15, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (October 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847816877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847816873
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,871,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on March 19, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oscar Niemeyer is Brazil's best-known architect. Famous for his monumental buildings in Brasilia, for the U.N. complex in New York, and his reputation for failed social engineering based on a convenient sort of elitist communism. Underwood's book is a strong introduction to Niemeyer's work, but like Niemeyer's buildings, it has flaws both in design and execution. Niemeyer was born in 1907, and combined a Rio de Janeiro sensibility (deriving inspiration from waves, women's figures, and palm trees) with an assertively modernist approach to architecture. Underwood points out that he went through several distinct periods: his early assimilation of architectural trends including a passion for Le Corbusier's then-revolutionary ideals; a period of introspective critical review that led to a more disciplined style (and Brasilia); followed by years of exile during the military regimes; and finally a return home as the leftist granddaddy of Brazilian modernism.
Niemeyer struggled with what Underwood calls the "Brazilian dilemma," the fact that he sympathized with the poor workingman but designed for and was paid by the wealthy elite. In fact, there really is no dilemma at all. He was a brilliant architectural innovator, but his work contributed next to nothing to the lives of ordinary Brazilians.. He changed forever views on architecture, he breathed life into formal Corbusian structures, but his works never realized his vision of making cities more livable and egalitarian. And the more he tried, the more uncomfortable were his creations. He was forever dependent on the elites and politicos who commissioned his works and bent the rules to get them built. "Modern architectural innovation in Brazil was the stepchild of authoritarian politics and the jeito brasileiro."
The book is good.
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By Alice G. on August 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always loved Brasilia and this book does it justice with its wonderful pictures. The service was excellent and on time
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