By Frank ScherschelLIFE Photo Collection
The man with a mission
In 1956, President Juscelino Kubitschek invites Oscar Niemeyer to supervise the construction of the nation's new capital. He is placed in charge of the committee that chooses Lúcio Costa's project for the city's urban planning, the Pilot Plan...
...while Niemeyer remained responsible for designing the city's monuments and buildings. Let's dive into some of his most famous projects.
Palácio Itamaraty by Bento VianaInstituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento Distrito Federal
The Itamaraty Palace
First opened in 1970, the Itamaraty Palace was Niemeyer's design for the head office of the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Therefore, the architect wanted the building to be able to present Brazil to foreigners.
So, Niemeyer decided to only use materials found naturally in the country for the construction, while the artworks inside would only feature Brazilian artists.
Relevo em mármore branco, hall principal, Palácio do Itamaraty, Brasília - DF (1966) by Athos BulcãoFundação Athos Bulcão
An example is the marble panel made by artist Athos Bulcão, who collaborated in many of Niemeyer's buildings around Brasília.
Teatro Nacional, Conjunto Nacional, Rodoviária, Setor de Autarquias Norte, Setor Comercial Norte (2011-01-18) by Joana FrançaInstituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento Distrito Federal
What's on stage?
Another Niemeyer design for Brasília was the National Theater. Located in the Monumental Axis, Niemeyer wanted it to feel heavy and light at the same time.
Teatro Nacional (2018-07-08) by Joana FrançaInstituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento Distrito Federal
That effect was achieved with the combination of concrete and glass, changing how they reflect the natural light throughout the day.
Explore the different angles of the National Theatre in Street View.
Universidade de Brasília by Bento VianaInstituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento Distrito Federal
Learning in the city
Oscar Niemeyer also designed the buildings of the main campus that constitute the then newly inaugurated University of Brasília (UnB).
Jardins da Universidade de Brasília (2016-12-09) by Joana FrançaInstituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento Distrito Federal
Located in the North Wing of the Pilot Project, Niemeyer brought to life the buildings of the institution and became head of the University's School of Architecture in 1962.