Oscar Niemeyer Houses

Photos by Alan Weintraub | Text by Alan Hess

At least for me, Niemeyer’s houses vacillate between stunningly beautiful and almost repugnantly spare, even Stalinish, in design. Many of his houses, built primarily in Brazil now have the feel of “has-been modernism.”  They were the stuff of the future sixty years ago. Some of his designs certainly have stood the test of time (along with some excellent upkeep from home owners).  Others have the faded feel of the old attraction at Wisconsin Dells – Xanadu, Home of the Future! Like Frank Lloyd Wright, Niemeyer brought the outside in, often almost totally fading the line where the house ended and the yard or horizon begins. These are the most truly striking with their minimalist white, glass walls and bright blue pools on the patio.  Others, sadly, just look tawdry and tired like an old butterfly chair at a garage sale.  All in all, an excellent retrospective of a visionary’s work.