Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre

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Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre
Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer
CentroNiemeyer72.jpg
Centro Niemeyer
General information
Type International cultural centre
Location Avilés, Asturias, Spain
Address Avda. del Zinc
Coordinates 43°33′25″N 5°54′59″W / 43.556884°N 5.916288°W / 43.556884; -5.916288
Opening Spring 2011
Design and construction
Architect Oscar Niemeyer
Website
niemeyer.es

The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer (Spanish: Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer), (popularly known as el Niemeyer), is the result of the combination of a cultural complex designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and an international cultural project. The center is located on the estuary of Avilés, Asturias (Spain). It was inaugurated on 26 May 2011.

The architect described the Niemeyer Centre as "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace".[1]

The buildings can be seen from many different places including the air. Its size and white, red and yellow colors highlight its location in the landscape of the town.

Oscar Niemeyer: The origins and the design[edit]

Auditorium
Logo based on two of the main colours of Oscar Niemeyer's works
An open square to humankind...

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of Brasilia and one of the most influent mondernist architects in the world[2] was awarded with the Prince of Asturias Award for Art in 1989. That was the origin of the relationship between Oscar Niemeyer and the Principality of Asturias. Years later, as a present for the 25th Anniversary of the Prince of Asturias Awards, Niemeyer donated a project to the Principality. His design has become a project meant to be an international reference in the cultural field. It is dedicated to education, culture and peace.[3] This centre is the first Oscar Niemeyer's work in Spain, and he has said he believes it is the most important in Europe,[4] which is the reason its name is "Centro Niemeyer".

Structure[edit]

The Niemeyer Centre is formed by five main elements that complement each other:[5]

  • The open square is a large open outdoor space for cultural activities. It reflects the Oscar Niemeyer's idea of a place open to humankind.
  • The auditorium contains around 1000 seats for concerts, theatre, and conferences. Its peculiarity is not having distinction between social classes. It includes the Club, a small space for small concerts, and an exhibition room in the foyer.
  • The dome is the exhibitions building.
  • The tower is a sight-seeing tower, restaurant and cocktail lounge.
  • The multi-purpose building contains the film centre, meeting-rooms, cafe, shop, and information point.
Multipurpose building
Tower
La grapa
Avilés estuary quay
Niemeyer Centre Panorama

Style and colours[edit]

The main features in Oscar Niemeyer's work are the curves. The colours are also features: mainly white, red, yellow and blue; this is because of the influence in his work of the (Neoplasticism).[6]

Step by step[edit]

The first stone was set on April 2008. The museum building structure was built in about an hour, as a result of the use of a pioneer technique for cultural buildings in Spain.[7] This way, it took about an hour to set up the whole structure. Then both the "Multipurpose building" and the "Auditorium" were constructed. The materials used were mainly concrete and glass. Also during this time the basis of the "Tower" was started, but it was not until the structures of other buildings were almost finished that the works on the Tower were visible. An underground car park was added. The "Open Square" was covered in white concrete. The sides of the Auditorium were painted in yellow, creating a contrast with the dominant white colour. On one of the sides of this building, a ceramic art work, designed by Niemeyer, represents the outline of a woman resting. The stage door was painted in red. This door can be open to the square, so that shows can take part inside or outside the building.[citation needed]

The inauguration act took place on March 2011 with a video speech with Oscar Niemeyer from Brasilia and a jazz concert with Woody Allen in front of an audience of more than 10.000 people.[8]

Avilés Estuary

.

Oscar Niemeyer Cultural Center Avilés.JPG

'Niemeyer effect': impact in the post-industrial town[edit]

Apart from its cultural purposes, the Óscar Niemyer International Cultural Centre of Avilés has an important environmental element. It is the center of a large scale urban regeneration process that will change the whole waterfront of the town. It is going to be located on an island created in the Avilés estuary, not far from the industrial area. This will help in the regeneration process of that area.

The authorities are now planning a many changes there, such as eliminating heavy traffic from the port area (where the center will be located) and creating sporting and recreation areas instead. Also a brand new set of projects are being released because of the Niemeyer Centre effect. This area is called now, La Isla de la Innovación[9] (The Island of the Innovation).[10]

It is developed by the Government of the Principality of Asturias and the Government of Spain. It will provide for the economic and urban regeneration of a degraded area in the middle of a process of industrial transformation: the Avilés estuary, situated in Asturias, northern Spain.

Niemeyer Effect[edit]

Thanks to the architecture and the cultural project, some artists became interested in Centro Niemeyer.[11] Brad Pitt, a follower of Oscar Niemeyer’s work visited the town to see the works[12] and increased the publicity of the Asturian cultural complex. Other Hollywood stars such as Kevin Spacey, visited the town several times in collaboration with the center (premieres, conferences, and theatre plays).[13] The collaboration with different world personalities (artists, Nobel price awards winners, United Nations meetings, etc.) made Centro Niemeyer the "Spanish cultural insititution with more presence in national and international media" in 2011.[14]

A year later works around the Centro Niemeyer prepared for the arrival of the first commercial cruise in the history of Avilés. An Oriental Garden next to the estuary receives the visitors arriving through the estuary. There are plans to create a bigger recreation port to increase tourism.[15]

The Centro Niemeyer has also inspired several sweets, such as: Niemeyitas, Cúpulas de Avimeyer (Avimeyer domes), etc. The short film "Keres" by Alfonso S. Suarez was recorded on the Centro Niemeyer.[16]

Several car companies have also used the buildings to promote their latest cars.[17]

Also a fashion magazine used it as background for a photographic session in 2011.[18]

Meeting point for knowledge[edit]

Oscar Niemeyer's vision is based on three pillars: education, culture and peace. The Centro Niemeyer tries to be a magnet for the three elements. The Niemeyer Centre also tries to combine international and national products.[according to whom?]

G8 of culture[edit]

In December 2007, the Foundation organized the First Worldwide Forum of International Cultural Centres in Avilés, Asturias (also known as the G8 of Culture) with eight international cultural centers: Lincoln Center of New York (USA), Barbican Centre of London(UK), Sydney Opera House, Centre Georges Pompidou of Paris (France), Library of Alexandria, Tokyo International Forum(Japan) and Hong Kong Cultural Center (China) and the Cultural Centre Óscar Niemeyer of Asturias (Spain).[19]

Production[edit]

The exhibition "LUZ" by Carlos Saura was a production by Centro Niemeyer. The center co-produced UTOPÍA by María Pagés, and also, in association with other institutions, co-commissioned and produced Richard III by Sam Mendes with Kevin Spacey in the main role. This theatre play was part of the Bridge Project between the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), the Old Vic Theatre in London and the British Independent Producer Neal Street.[20] Asturias was one of the few places in the World where it was represented, adding Aviles to a list of names such as London, Naples, Istanbul, Athens, San Francisco, and New York.[21]

Education[edit]

The Centro Niemeyer has organised different educational activities such as those in collaboration with the Kevin Spacey Foundation, or María Pagés. Students of different ages had the chance of finding a meeting place for learning.[according to whom?] Some of those students had important chances as a consequence of those activities: such as doing a performance in Broadway[22] It was also one of the stops of the Ruta Quetzal in 2011[23]

Film Centre[edit]

One of the permanent activities of the Niemeyer Centre will be the 'Film Centre'. Woody Allen proposed the idea to the Principality of Asturias Government after several visits to Asturias.[citation needed] Woody Allen has shown publicly his support to the Avilés' centre, visiting the town and including bits of it in his first film in Spain (Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2008). In October 2008, the European Film Academy (EFA) announced that it will collaborate with the Niemeyer Centre's Film The center has a permanent cinema in the Multipurpose Building.[24] The seat number 7 on the 5th row bears Woody Allen's name, who inaugurated the cinema on 2011.[25] There is a second seat dedicated to Volker Schlöndorff.[26] The Film Centre works on themes, such as the United Nations, etc., but also premieres, and short-films.

Gastronomy[edit]

There are three different areas dedicated to this science: the bar, the tower restaurant and the cocteleria. The Gastro restaurant provides a space where 14 guests sit around a common table and are involved in the cooking process. Famous cooks share their experience and menus there.[citation needed]

Exhibitions[edit]

The main exhibition gallery is The Dome. There is a second and smaller gallery in the foyer of the Auditorium and sometimes on the two rooms of the Multipurpose Building.[citation needed]

Other arts[edit]

Apart from the ones above, there are many different arts included in the activity of the Centro Niemeyer, including music, theatre, and ballet.[citation needed]

Niemeyer Centre in Avilés landscape

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre Foundation[edit]

The Fundación Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer Principado de Asturias was created in 2007 to manage the buildings and cultural project Centro Niemeyer. The Foundation develops the international project and to set a work collaboration network. The work of this Foundation is based on three aims: education, culture and peace: "An open square to the humankind, a place for education, culture and peace" in the words of the architect.[citation needed] It is hoped[according to whom?] the centre will be a magnet for talent, knowledge and creativity, as well as promoting local content. It will have a strong focus on collaboration with international cultural centres.

Oscar Niemeyer is the honorary member of the Foundation.[citation needed]

The activity of the Foundation starts before the works on the buildings. They organized the first "G8 of culture" conferences with Paulo Coelho, Alejandro Amenábar, Omar Shariff, the representation of The Tempest, etc. Damien Pwono (ASPEN Institute) said during a visit to the town, «The most important thing in culture is add the efforts of different people, and that is what Centro Niemeyer is doing, also taking an eclectic point of view. Other centers show how beautiful they are, but the Niemeyer, even without building, is real».[27]

Until the spring of 2012 the general director of the centre was Natalio Grueso.[citation needed]

Centro Niemeyer

International Advisory Board[edit]

There is also an International Advisory Board[28] of the International Cultural Centre Óscar Niemeyer. Some of its members are Stephen Hawking, Vinton Cerf, Woody Allen, Paulo Coelho, and Jose Andres.[citation needed]

The Niemeyer Centre will also collaborate with the London School of Economics, the Instituto Cervantes, the Old Vic theatre of London (currently directed by Kevin Spacey) María Cristina Masaveu Foundation, Ministry of Culture (Spain) and with exhibitions exchange with CaixaForum (La Caixa).[citation needed]

On 17 October 2008, the news is that the Nigerian writer, poet and playwright Wole Soyinka, who won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986, will collaborate with the Niemeyer Centre. He visited Asturias in 2012 and collaborate with a conference and an exhibition.[citation needed]

Paulo Coelho at the entrance of the Palacio Valdés Theatre in Avilés, 29 May 2008

Activities[edit]

Right after its creation, the Foundation activity started. That way, even before the actual buildings were finished, a lot of activities organized by the Niemeyer Centre took place in Avilés. Some of the activities included premieres (Cassandra's Dream by Woody Allen,[29]) the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho in the Palacio Valdés Theatre (event also transmitted by the Internet),[30] the visits of Fatema Mernissi in June 2008, Wole Soyinka, Vinton Cerf, Omar Sharif, the concerts of Barbara Hendricks, Joan Manuel Serrat, etc.[citation needed]

Also the first steps for collaborations with the Old Vic Theatre of London took place at that time.[31]

Impact of the inaugural programme[edit]

During the spring of 2011 the announcement of the inaugural programme created a lot of expectation proven by the 10,000 invitations accepted for Woody Allen and The New Orleans Jazz Band concert.[citation needed] The first exhibitions were associates to personalities such as Jessica Lange and Julian Schnabel, etc. The activities programme is on the Centre's agenda, including exhibitions, concerts, etc.

All these activities made the Centro Niemeyer of Asturias appear in national and international media.[citation needed]

Awards[edit]

The arquitectural project received these awards:

  • Best National Project at Barcelona Meeting Point (2010)[32]
  • Best Urban Development Project at "Éxito Empresarial en Asturias" awards(2010)[33]
  • Icono de la Asturias de hoy (chosen by the readers of El Comercio newspaper(2011)[34]
  • II Premio en la categoría placa de yeso laminado en el VIII Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy Awards. (June 2012) 2012[35]

It also received an award for its cultural contribution:

  • Premio del Público del Festival de Jeréz 2012 (Jerez Festival Audience Price) to "UTOPÍA" de María Pagés (coproduced by Centro Niemeyer)[36]

Citizens movement: I Support Centro Niemeyer[edit]

After the regional elections in 2011 there were political differences that affected the center. At this stage, the opinion on the street and a Facebook Group become the origin of the citizens movement "YO APOYO AL CENTRO CULTURAL INTERNACIONAL OSCAR NIEMEYER" (I support Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre).[citation needed] This movement was open to anyone who supported what the Centro Niemeyer had represented both cultural and economically for the town and the region, leaving aside political ideologies. As any citizens movement, it had to prove their political independence.[37]

There was not a renewed allowance for the Foundation to continue with the management of the center. On 15 December 2011 the center was closed and employees were laid off.[38] A month later it reopened, for a few months, under a different name and project. Through demonstrations, online signature campaigns, articles on the press, manifestos and cultural events (some of which appeared on national an international media,[39]) the movement tried to support and keep the original project. Members of the citizens movement met up with different political parties, trade unions and businesses.[40] During this period, different personalities from the culture and journalism supported the Centro Niemeyer through social networks, signing manifestos,[41] etc.

Eventually, a few months later, after early elections in 2012, the Foundation was allowed back to the management of the centre and the project recovered its original name.[42] The plaque was up on the center on 21 June 2012.

During the homage to Oscar Niemeyer on 15 December 2012 (it would have been his 105 birthday),[43] the citizens movement released "Sentimiento Niemeyer".[44] The verses were written by different people through a Facebook event and put together by musicians. The song was released under a Creative Commons license (attribution, non-profit, no-variations) so that other artists who shared the feeling around the world could make their own cover of the song, keeping the melody and translating the lyrics.[45]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

And:

References[edit]

  1. ^ "See official website". Niemeyercenter.org. 8 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Influential modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer dies aged 104. The Independent, 6 December 2012
  3. ^ Information[dead link]
  4. ^ "Note in "El Mundo"". Elmundo.es. 
  5. ^ Description and Woody Allen
  6. ^ "Entrevista: Niemeyer la poética de la curva" (Spanish) in http://noticias.arq.com.mx
  7. ^ Yolanda De Luis. "Article in "El Comercio Digital"". Avilés: Elcomerciodigital.com. 
  8. ^ El clarinete de Woody Allen apadrina el Niemeyer Elmundo.es, 26 March 2011
  9. ^ Paul Richardson (1 July 2011). "''A great white hope in Avilés, Asturias'". The Guardian (London). 
  10. ^ "More information about "The Island of the innovation in Avilés"". Xihalife.com. 9 January 2008. 
  11. ^ Brad Pitt visita por sorpresa Avilés ABC, 31 August 2009
  12. ^ La Opinión de A Coruña (31 August 2009). "Brat Pitt's surprise visitita". Laopinioncoruna.es. 
  13. ^ Kevin Spacey convierte a Ricardo III en un dictador del siglo XX. Cultura, El País, 29 September 2011
  14. ^ Y. De Luis (11 October 2011). "La Voz de Avilés". Elcomercio.es. 
  15. ^ "The Island of Innovation". Aviles.es. 
  16. ^ KERES94 personen vinden dit leuk (18 September 2012). "''Keres'' Facebook page". Facebook.com. 
  17. ^ Nissan lleva su guerra de las galaxias al Niemeyer y al Calatrava La voz e Avilés, 2 September 2013
  18. ^ Una 'top model' en el Niemeyer La voz de Avilés, 24 May 2011
  19. ^ "El País.com, 22/2/2008". Elpais.com. 6 December 2007. 
  20. ^ Web del The Repertory Theatre, Singapur[dead link]
  21. ^ EFM World Tour with The Bridge Project – Richard III EFM, 26 June 2012
  22. ^ La Nueva España (28 March 2012). "De Gijón a Broadway ''La Nueva España'', 28th March 2012". Lne.es. 
  23. ^ "Ruta Quetzal video". Youtube.com. 14 July 2011. 
  24. ^ "''informador.com.mx''". Informador.com.mx. 25 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "''informador.com.mx''". Informador.com.mx. 25 March 2011. 
  26. ^ Volker Schlöndorff’s visit[dead link]
  27. ^ "Damien Pwono (ASPEN Institute)". Niemeyer.elcomercio.es. 
  28. ^ "Article on". E-architect.co.uk. 25 March 2011. 
  29. ^ Description of the Centre and relationship with Woody Allen
  30. ^ "Blog de Paulo Coelho". Paulocoelhoblog.com. 12 July 2013. 
  31. ^ "Terra Noticias". Actualidad.terra.es. 
  32. ^ "RTPA noticias". Rtpa.es. 17 October 2010. 
  33. ^ La Nueva España. "Article in ''La Nueva España'' newspaper". Lne.es. 
  34. ^ E.C.D. "El Comercio, April 2011". Gijón: Elcomercio.es. 
  35. ^ 2nd Price- VIII Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy Awards[dead link]
  36. ^ Diario de Jeréz
  37. ^ Crónica Popular (6 December 2012). "Open letter to the Government". Cronicapopular.es. 
  38. ^ "Curtain Could Fall on a Dazzling Arts Center in Spain". NPR. 4 December 2011. 
  39. ^ "Informativos Telecinco". Telecinco.es. 22 August 2011. 
  40. ^ J. G. "La Voz de Avilés, 12 June 2012". Elcomercio.es. 
  41. ^ "Arts Manifesto". Yoapoyocentroniemeyer.blogspot.com.es. 
  42. ^ "The Centro Niemeyer recovers its name through a renewed Foundation". Rtpa.es. 20 June 2012. 
  43. ^ J. González. "A hymn for the Niemeyer". Avilés.: Elcomercio.es. 
  44. ^ ""Sentimiento Niemeyer" in AULA_de_INFANTIL_de Isa". Blog.educastur.es. 16 December 2012. 
  45. ^ La canción homenaje "Sentimiento Niemeyer" supera las 1000 visitas en YouTube

Coordinates: 43°33′25″N 5°54′59″W / 43.556884°N 5.916288°W / 43.556884; -5.916288

External links[edit]