Casa das Canoas - The family house of Oscar Niemeyer

Coup de Coeur

Casa das Canoas - The family house of Oscar Niemeyer


"Straight angles do not attract me. Neither does the straight, hard, inflexible lines drawn by men. I am attracted to the free, sensuous curves I observe in the mountains of my country. In its winding rivers, the clouds in the sky, the body of the beloved woman." - Oscar Niemeyer

To reach the iconic family house of Brazilian architectural visionary Oscar Niemeyer you first need to drive along the curvaceous sandy shore of Ipanema, taking it till the road transforms in to the tropical Forest of Tijuca National Park. There hidden in the luxurious vegetation, in the heart of green abundance, this masterpiece villa appears suddenly after a sharp road turn. Finding it is to suddenly to trip upon the beauty of it, “Oscar never wanted to build a protecting fence around the property, he never intended to hide the house from the public eye because it is a natural part of this place” says his great grandson Carlos Ricardo Niemeyer. Perhaps you have already seen the famous sinusoidal swimming-pool, or just simply remember the feminine free-form curvature – Casa das Canoas is the meeting place of human construction and immaculate nature, creating a surreal harmonious spectacle that sends a strong message of the desire of balance between the two. The design is anchored around the boulder that erupts from the ground and permeates through the glass walls and pours into the interior – the relationship however is far from spontaneous; everything is measured in this design. 

A legendary vision, Niemeyer lead an extraordinary life (of 104 years!) where he apprenticed and collaborated with Lucio Costa, famously sparred with Le Corbusier over the UN building, won patronage from Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek – leading to the commission to shape the capital Brasilia, and due to his left-wing views and friendships with fellow communists like Fidel Castro, was exiled to France following the 1964 military coup. Over a career spanning 78 years, he designed approximately 600 projects.

Casa das Canoas was built as his family home in 1951, and until recently was open for the public to visit. 


Photography  —  Demian Jacob for Open House Magazine

(Additional photography credits are in the image title)

Design —  Oscar Niemeyer 

Location —  Rio De Janeiro

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