On December 5th 2012, Brazilian architectural great, Oscar Niemeyer passed away at age 104. A cultural icon, Niemeyer was widely regarded as one of the best architects of the modern era, masterminding a number of technical and aesthetic feats. A little known fact is that he was a close friend of bossa nova legend and lyricist Vinicius De Moraes, for who he designed the set for “Orpheus of Conceição.” Vinicius himself saw it fit to write about his close friend and fortunately it survives today and was fully translated by “Arch daily.” Below are a few excerpts.

Oscar niemeyer and Vinícius de Moraes

Oscar niemeyer and Vinícius de Moraes

“There are few testimonials I have read that are as exciting as Oscar Niemeyer’s account of his experience in Brasília. 1  For those who know only the architect, the article could pass as a self-serving defense – the justified revenge of a father who, despite his gentle temperment, fought for his child[, his Brasilia – a city] at the mercy of the world. But for those who know the man, the article takes on even more dramatic proportions. For Oscar is not only the opposite of an activist, he’s one of the most anti-self-promotional beings I’ve met in my life.

“His modesty isn’t, as it so often is, a shameful form of vanity. It has nothing to do with his down-to-earth expertise, which Oscar has thanks to his professional value and possibilities. It is the modesty of a creator truly integrated with life, who knows that there is no time to lose, that we need to build beauty and happiness into the world, because the individual is fragile and precarious. This poignant sentiment, of the fragility and precariousness of things, plays in Oscar in a higher key (only further highlighting the dignity of this man and artist); it’s never been a self-serving sentiment, but one for mankind in general, for whom he hopes to make a better future.”

If you want to read the whole piece the full article is here.