Oscar Niemeyer By Neil Denari

If I may refer to the title of a William S. Burroughs novel, Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings are soft machines, a modern project of functional precision within a proto-biological paradigm. Not simply a softened modernism, Niemeyer has radically expanded the language and interpretation of functionalist methods and religions. His work has influenced my own as I search for ways to undermine the forces of a mechanical logic (an acceptable discourse of use-value in architecture) in order to more fully incorporate and rewrite provisional rules for various modes of expression including colorization, the development of form that is magically neither free nor limited, and for a graphic resonance in architecture (what I call formagraphics).

Beyond the iconic and sublime qualities of Niemeyer’s work lies a forgiving, less intractable force, one that engages our mind and body, that like Burroughs’ soft machine, has a soul that ultimately defies description. It’s the soul in the material life of architecture that I have found through Niemeyer.

By Neil Denari
Written – in Los Angeles, CA. 02.01.07 – 2:54pm
Now in memory of the great, ageless Oscar Niemeyer…This is a short text I wrote for a book that commemorated his 100th birthday. 12/6/12

Oscar Niemeyer, 104, died in Rio at 21h55 on Wednesday 5th Dec. He was hospitalized since Nov. 2 at Samaritan Hospital in Botafogo, South Zone Internationally recognized for his work, Niemeyer would complete 105 years 15th of this December. However, this Wednesday a medical bulletin reported that the state of health had worsened and the architect was considered serious. Also according to the hospital, Niemeyer was breathing with the help of machines and was sedated because of a respiratory infection.

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