Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, now in Lego
Lego's architecture range now includes the pair's great collaboration, New York's United Nations Building
In his memoir, the brilliant Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer recalls the moment, in 1947, when his plans were approved for the UN headquarters in New York. "Wallace Harrison [US architect and UN project director] presented my scheme, which was unanimously accepted," he wrote in our book, The Curves of Time. "The attendees congratulated me, and even the secretary embraced me. My project had been selected. On the way out, Le Corbusier murmured, "I'd like to see you tomorrow morning."
Le Corbusier, known for his strident ambition and far more angular works, had lost out to Niemeyer, and instead tried convince his rival to combine their plans into a new submission. Neimeyer, younger and less influential than his rival, submitted; together the pair produced an odd chimera of a complex, part flowing curves, part austere towers.
Now, everyone can experience the pleasures and frustrations involved in constructing such a well-known work of modernist architecture, thanks to Lego. The United Nations Headquarters is the latest in their Architecture range, which also includes Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's Burj Khalifa.
Unlike the building itself, UN Lego set consists of a mere 597 pieces and is suitable for builders aged twelve and above. If, while making yours, a Swiss-Frenchman tries to offer his assistance, we suggest you tell him to get his own set, here.
For more on Lego's architecture series, go here. For greater insight into Oscar Neimeyer's life, take a look at our great memoir, The Curves of Time. For more on Le Corbusier consider our wonderful books. And for a child's introduction to international architecture, consider our new book, Architecture According to Pigeons. Buy them all from the people who made them here.