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    The last of the Modernists?

    pix May 24 '06 7

    I was flipping through Metropolis magazine, and there was this pretty interesting interview with what they called "the last of the modernists", Oscar Niemeyer..

    I was actually surprised by I don't know if it was total and brutal honesty or just pure cynicism, but they way he talks about his own work and architecture is at least kinda cool to read, to see someone who doesn't seem to shy away with his answers.

    He simply started by saying that he didn't believe in inspiration and that there was so much more to everything, that life is more important than architecture.

    He mentions some of his architectural upbringing, but mainly focuses on giving young architects some words of wisdom, and I mean at 98, he must have done something right and we all know that he has seen it all, if no, at least a great deal of it..

    "Anyone who is going to be an architect should invest part of his time in the knowledge of humanism" , his advice is to read, read read, and that is the most important part of architecture, he also says that being a good architect, is just bullshit, that one needs to generate an original idea and make it stand up...

    He goes on to say that his architecture, just like any other doesn't help at when it comes to improve the life of the rich and the poor and bring it closer together, architecture is for the upper class only, the poor will be always be poor. He exemplifies with the history of Brasilia, where while the city was being built, many workers moved there, and while there was capital everyone was ok, but when the capital went away, the workers stayed, and they are as poor as ever...

    I guess it might be the Brazilian context, I'd like to think that it is not all good or bad, but there should be a in between. And I'm here thinking, this is a 98 year old man, he must be sure of things, but then I re- read them, and I am not so sure I buy everything he says, thought the whole interview is quite interesting... i would argue if the title is completely appropriate...

     

     
    • 7 Comments

    • Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke
      May 24, 06 11:15 pm

      I am weary of those who have been down paths the very paths we traverse, who spend years basking in the glow of the various professions that inspire us, that give us some reason to wake up early in the morning, who give us the impetus to abandon lucrative careers in search of those moments that make everything worthwhile ... and then turn around to tell us that it's all for naught.


      AP
      May 24, 06 11:23 pm

      towards the end of his life, Le Corbusier said:

      "Life is right, and the architecture is wrong."

      c.k.
      May 25, 06 7:52 pm

      and then Rem came and said that
      "People can inhabit anything. And they can be miserable in anything and ecstatic in anything. More and more I think that architecture has nothing to do with it"

      sob...sob...

      c.k.
      May 25, 06 8:02 pm

      mean old men. SMcSS is right.

      Suture
      May 26, 06 2:51 pm

      that great short interview with Neimeyer was worth more than the last 100 issues of Metropilis.

      Adamus
      May 26, 06 11:50 pm

      Perennial optimists fail in architecture. Niemeyer, Corb and Rem are all right on. The touchy feely attitude of many of you liberal architects who want to create spaces where 'everyone comes together' are on a path headed for disappointment. I say, give yourself an ego boost, flaunt your status as an architect, and go out there and make some COOL designs...forget whatever social implications you want them to have.

      keopi
      Apr 16, 07 2:25 pm

      couldn't agree more with Suture and pix. I know I'm a bit late but just found this blog. I remember that article, it may have been my favorite architecture article in the past year (and now it's almost been that long). Such a good read, niemeyer cuts through the crap but still makes beautiful works.

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