Experiencing an Architect's Vision in Sao Paulo, Brazil
After 12 years of visiting the megacity of São Paulo, Brazil, I finally made a point of seeing all of Oscar Niemeyer's work there. My husband, a native of São Paulo, drove us into the center of the city, with its curving avenues and bustling intersections, to get up close and personal with this famed architect's work. The highlight for me was the Latin America Memorial.
Oscar Niemeyer was one of the 20th century's most influential and prolific architects. He died just before his 105th birthday in late 2012. He was from Brazil but had a deep international influence. However, the huge number of projects that he completed in Brazil makes this country the best place to experience his work.
São Paulo has many of Niemeyer's buildings, including the Memorial da América Latina, a complex of curving buildings and sculpture that celebrates Latin America's rise to freedom. Besides demonstrating his ability to create round exterior walls that seem to defy gravity, Niemeyer created a space for the people--one that serves the public with outdoor events and buildings devoted to Latin American politics. When we visited, the entire complex was occupied by Bolivians celebrating the independence of their country. As Niemeyer would have liked, his beautiful architecture, a space devoted to the public, came to life with a colorful celebration of Latin America's people.