Oscar Niemeyer Quotes

Architecture for me has always begun with drawing.

Architecture was my way of expressing my ideals: to be simple, to create a world equal to everyone, to look at people with optimism, that everyone has a gift. I don’t want anything but general happiness. Why is that bad?

Here, then, is what I wanted to tell you of my architecture. I created it with courage and idealism, but also with an awareness of the fact that what is important is life, friends and attempting to make this unjust world a better place in which to live.

I deliberately disregarded the right angle and rationalist architecture designed with ruler and square to boldly enter the world of curves and straight lines offered by reinforced concrete. This deliberate protest arose from the environment in which I lived, with its white beaches, its huge mountains, its old baroque churches, and the beautiful suntanned women.

I don’t like to talk about architecture. Life is too short for that, a breath, that’s all – it matters far more than buildings.

I had some good opportunities. I was lucky to have had the chance to do things differently. Architecture is about surprise.

I have always accepted and respected all other schools of architecture, from the chill and elemental structures of Mies van der Rohe to the imagination and delirium of Gaudi. I must design what pleases me in a way that is naturally linked to my roots and the country of my origin.

I once wrote a poem about the curve. The curve I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean and on the body of the beloved woman.

I pick up my pen. A building appears.

I was attracted by the curve – the liberated, sensual curve suggested by the possibilities of new technology yet so often recalled in venerable old baroque churches.

It is not the right angle that attracts me, nor the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. What attracts me is the free and sensual curve – the curve that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuous course of its rivers, in the body of the beloved woman.

Life is very fleeting. It’s important to be gentle and optimistic. We look behind and think what we’ve done in this life has been good. It was simple; it was modest. Everyone creates their own story and moves on. That’s it. I don’t feel particularly important. What we create is not important. We’re very insignificant.

My ambition has always been to reduce a building’s support to a minimum. The more we diminish supporting structures, the more audacious and important the architecture is. That has been my life’s work.

My work is not about ‘form follows function,’ but ‘form follows beauty’ or, even better, ‘form follows feminine.’

We hated Bauhaus. It was a bad time in architecture. They just didn’t have any talent. All they had were rules. Even for knives and forks they created rules. Picasso would never have accepted rules. The house is like a machine? No! The mechanical is ugly. The rule is the worst thing. You just want to break it.

We have to change capitalism, this regime of violence, power and war. I detest it. I came from a traditional Catholic family. But I saw a world so unfair, that I became a young communist.

When you have a large space to conquer, the curve is the natural solution.