Oscar Niemeyer: house in Canoas, Brazil, 1953

01-07-2004
In Canoas, Barra de Tijuca, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer built a beautiful home for himself and his family in 1953.

Beside the pool are sculptures by Niemeyer's friend Alfredo Ceschiatti, whose elegantly curved female bodies fit perfectly into the context of fluctuating forms.
But the relationship between house and landscape changes if we go into the bedrooms: here Niemeyer has designed the rooms to be refuges, with small windows revealing only a tiny part of the luxuriant growth outside.
The concave forms of the architectural elements, almost all made of reinforced cement, create a plastic spatiality which promotes harmonious fusion of interior and exterior and enhances the feeling of oneness with nature. The sinuous roof, supported by piloti, also helps emphasise the form of the home, emphasised by the fluid rhythm of the glass façade offering a beautiful view out over the sea.

Niemeyer wanted to design his home in perfect freedom, gently moulding its contours and adapting them to the irregularity of the terrain; only in this way could he allow vegetation to penetrate the home.His work has been called a dreamy, fantastic architecture made up of emotions and spaces in freedom; the architect himself admits that he discovered the origin of beauty in contemplation of the curves of nature.

All elements making up the Canoas home represent the triumph of plastic architecture, affected in particular by the influence of Le Corbusier; the Brazilian architect gives free reign to his creativity in all of his projects, inspired by the curved lines of the mountains of his homeland.
The critics often put the emphasis on Niemeyer's innovations and the spectacular visual impact of his work, but it is also important to remember its profound spirituality: while his architecture reflects the multiple contradictions of Brazil on the one hand, on the other it is capable of communicating in a universal language which few others have proven capable of expressing.

Floriana De Rosa

Link:
www.vitruvius.com.br/arquitextos/arq003/bases/03tex.asp