Sunday, February 9, 2003
London Oscar Niemeyer, widely considered one of the world's greatest living architects, will design this year's pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London's Hyde Park.
The temporary pavilion will be the first structure in Britain by the 95-year-old Brazilian, who designed much of his country's capital city, Brasilia.
"Oscar Niemeyer is one of the world's greatest living architects and we are thrilled that he has agreed to design the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2003," gallery director Julia Peyton-Jones announced Thursday. "It is a privilege to provide a long overdue opportunity for the British public to see his work at first hand."
The cost of the structure was not announced.
The pavilion is a temporary structure erected for special events on the gallery's lawn from June to September.
"My idea was to keep this project different, free and audacious. That is what I prefer," Niemeyer said in a statement. "I like to draw, I like to see from the blank sheet of paper a palace, a cathedral, the figure of a woman appearing. But life for me is much more important than architecture."
Throughout the 1950s, he designed groundbreaking public and corporate buildings in Brazil and, in 1958, became chief architect of Nova Cap, the organization that created Brasilia. Two of his buildings for the city -- the Congresso and the Catedral Metropolitana -- brought him international acclaim.
In exile in France following the 1964 military coup, he designed the headquarters of the French Communist Party as well as two universities in Algeria and several important buildings in Italy.
He returned to Brazil after democracy was restored in 1989. Among many other international honors, he received architecture's most prestigious award, the Pritzker Prize, in 1988.
As with previous years, the pavilion will be dismantled and sold at the end of the summer. Previous pavilion designers include Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind and Toyo Ito.