Thursday, December 6, 2012

Oscar Neimeyer 1907 - 2012

There are obituaries everyday, and as we near the end of 2012, the network evening news will take us through the annual, year-end ritual of reminding us of everyone that passed in 2012. Ray Bradbury. Rapper MCA. Senator Arlen Specter. Whitney Houston. But none of them....No, not even Ray Bradbury....touched our lives like Oscar Neimeyer. It is nothing so strong as saying it is like a family member died, or even the family dog, but it is oddly poetic, uncannily fitting, that he passes just as we leave Brasilia, the monument his modernist architectural vision created.

From nothing, he and Lucio Costa, the urban planner who designed Brasilia's distinct plane-shaped layout, created, not only the capital of Brazil, but a place we grew to love and call home. One of my favorite buildings he designed is, perhaps, one of the last one's he designed, the Electoral Supreme Court that sits directly in front of the building I work in. I could do without the silly domes bubbling out of the immaculately coifed grass in front, but I love how if one follows the curve of the building, it will eventually merge seamlessly with the sky, due, in large part, to thousands of louvers tinged with shades of blue.

I can only dream of leaving such an indelible impression upon the world and I do. Much less of continuing to do so until I am 104. That's 2076, Elise. You will be 97. Clementine will be 64. Our Deus quiser...will be in their mid-thirties probably having children of their own. Maybe they will be named Oscar. Who knows what the future will hold. Are you ready?

(All images | Elise Hanna

1 comment:

Raquel Miranda said...

Beautiful post. I grew up in Brasilia, have all my best, sweetest memories from this city... It's the place I call home, where my school friends are now raising their own kids... Lovely and unique place, and architecture is a major part of it... and I'm sure, all of us, touched in a way of another by Niemeyer's work carry that in our hearts. Thanks for sharing. Greetings from La Paz.