Surprise! Niemeyer puts Avilés on the map.

 where: Avilés, Spain
who: Oscar Niemeyer
what: International Cultural Center

Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, at age 103 (yes, still at work!), is soon to inaugurate an International Cultural Center in the northern town of Avilés, Spain, opening its doors to the world. Some already call it the "Niemeyer effect", as its impact attracts celebrities (and their support) around the globe: like Stephen Hawking, Brad Pitt, Paulo Coelho, Woody Allen, and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and also promises to position the town as home of the top ten cultural spots in the world. 
The decision was to create a new site to host the Principe de Asturias annual awards, which honours leading figures in science, arts, or public service (Niemeyer was awarded in 1989), building an open public space where, in Niemeyer's words, "social meaning is more important than architecture itself"

His unique and simple architecture can be vastly seen, among all, in Brasilia, the capitol city of Brazil, where his modern architecture is mostly recognized and applauded (because of quality and quantity), in Manhattan, New York (the UN headquarters with Le Corbusier) and gladly, in years to come, in the Argentinian city of Rosario.  

I admit I like his words more than his work (his architecture in the "formal" point of view). Formally, I think and feel different. Maybe because of the excesive use of reinforced concrete, the monumentality, the heaviness, the immense dry areas that usually surround his buildings (as he says: "clean terrain emphasizes architecture"). But all this is nothing when it comes to "living" his architecture. I had the privilege of visiting his museum in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and experiencing the richness of the inside spatiality. A dome, a ramp, and a big hole in the ground was all he used.

Long live Niemeyer! 

  • Centro Cultural official site
  • more info
  • Niemeyer official site

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