NIEMEYER, THE CREATIVE EXILED - CRASH Magazine
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NIEMEYER, THE CREATIVE EXILED

By Anthony Thuong-Seng

Oscar Niemeyer En France, written by Vanessa Grossman and Benoît Pourreau focuses on the architect’s years in France.

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Oscar Niemeyer is celebrated worldwide as one of the key figures of modern architecture, working on large-scale projects – among which Brasília in 1960. He died in 2012 on the eve of his 105th birthday.

After training at the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro in the 1930s, he joined the office of Lucio Costa, a close associate of Le Corbusier. Having become independent, Niemeyer met Juscelino Kubitschek, mayor of Belo Horizonte. When Kubitschek – then elected President – decided to design the new capital of Brazil, Niemeyer naturally designed the main public buildings. With the inauguration of the city in 1960, the architect became a worldwide sensation.

In 1964, fleeing the military dictatorship, Niemeyer found refuge in France where he received several commissions from the French Communist Party (PCF) and André Malraux, Minister of Cultural Affairs.

He opened his own agency on the Champs-Élysées and built a number of emblematic buildings, such as the headquarters of the French Communist Party in Paris, the Maison de la Culture in Le Havre, known as “Le Volcan”, the Bourse Départementale du Travail in Bobigny, and the headquarters of L’Humanité in Saint-Denis. Niemeyer did not settle in Brazil permanently up until 1981. Oscar Niemeyer En France offers rare insight into these particular projects as well as lesser known commissions, such as residences in the south of France (Villa Nara Mondadori, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat), collective housing (Grasse, Dieppe or Villejuif), or office buildings (Renault in Boulogne-Billancourt, La Défense).

Complete with never-before-seen sketches, plans, models, images and documents from numerous French private and public collections, the book sheds a unique light on Oscar Niemeyer’s work and the way his years in France influenced the international impact of his pioneering work.

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Vanessa Grossman, Benoît Pouvreau

Oscar Niemeyer en France, Un Exil Créatif

Éditions du Patrimoine, “Carnets d’architectes” Collection

208 pages – 206 illustrations

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