I am legend

originally published in Tank, volume 5 issue 4

After 49 years at Cuba's helm, Fidel Castro finally stepped down this February. In his salutary farewell letter to his beloved nation, Castro explained, "Like Niemeyer, I believe that one has to be consistent right up to the end." The avowed Communist Oscar Niemeyer, who was born in 1907, has been Comrade Fidel's close friend since the revolution. His dogged, consistent productivity - over 1,000 projects since the 1950s - mark his as one of the great modernist careers, one that simply refuses to dwindle or deviate from its original utopian impulse. Niemeyer's squiggles, bumps, spaceships and sine curves have dominated South American architecture with a tenacity that is impossible to ignore but easy to measure. His geometrically severe buildings for the then-new capital Brasília epitomise the strangeness of yesterday's city of tomorrow.

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