The Schmooze

Oscar Niemeyer, Israel, and Two Jews Named Jacob

After a recent short hospital stay, the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer is back to work at age 102. Despite many reiterated online claims by Brazilian Jews to the contrary, Niemeyer is not Jewish.

Of mixed German-Italian ancestry, Niemeyer did work with the Brazilian Jewish architect Elias Kaufman on his most famous project, Brazil’s capital city Brasília, and has also collaborated with the Brazilian landscape architect of German Jewish origin, Roberto Burle Marx. Among Niemeyer’s other noted Brazilian Jewish colleagues are landscape specialist Rosa Grena Kliass, and architects Salomão Tandeta, Mário Bruno Fainbaum and David Reznik.

“Constructing a Sense of Place: Architecture and the Zionist Discourse” by Haim Yacobi of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (Ashgate Publishers) fascinatingly details Niemeyer’s design work in Israel in the mid 1960s, of which only Eshkol Tower at the University of Haifa was actually built.

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Oscar Niemeyer, Israel, and Two Jews Named Jacob

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