Germany Will Get a New Oscar Niemeyer Structure, Designed Before His Death

Made of concrete and glass, it will sit atop an industrial building from the 19th century.

A model of the Oscar Niemeyer-designed restaurant. Photo courtesy Kirow Leipzig.

A new building designed by Oscar Niemeyer will open in Leipzig next year, based off a sketch the architect made shortly before his death in 2012. The design is a concrete-and-glass sphere that will sit atop the factory of Kirow Werk in Leipzig, and contain a restaurant and bar.

Niemeyer died at the age of 104, and the sketch was one of his final works. The building will be realized with the help of his assistant, and is set to open in March 2018.

The sphere will be added to the 19th-century structure of the factory, which manufactures cranes and other industrial machinery. The head of Kirow Leipzig, Ludwig Koehne, commissioned the design, initiating the process with a letter to Niemeyer in 2011.

“The content of the letter was that we have a very good cook [at the company’s cafeteria] who seeks a new challenge beyond canteen food, and we should urgently have an expansion [for a restaurant], that possibly goes on the roof,” Koehne told MDR.

oscar niemeyer leipzig

A model of the Oscar Niemeyer-designed restaurant. Photo courtesy Kirow Leipzig.

Three weeks after a meeting in the architect’s native Rio de Janeiro, Niemeyer had sketched a first draft. The design, a sphere made of reinforced concrete and glass, has a diameter of 12 meters (about 40 feet), and the exterior consists of a lattice pattern. The interior has space for a cafe with a lounge and bar.

Niemeyer was one of the most innovative 20th-century architects. As described in an obituary in Dezeen, his major influence was Le Corbusier, but his designs made more use of curving, abstract forms than his predecessor.

Best known for his buildings in the planned city of Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, including the National Congress and the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Niemeyer also designed notable buildings in other Brazilian cities and abroad, including the U.N. Secretariat in New York and the Communist Party headquarters in Paris.

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