6 December 2012
Last updated at 00:55
Oscar Niemeyer, pictured here in 2007, was one of the most innovative and daring architects of the past 60 years.
Niemeyer co-designed Brazil's purpose-built capital Brasilia. It is the archetypal planned town, built from scratch on the desert-like Central Plateau in the late 1950s.
Niemeyer, a protege of Le Corbusier, dreamed up buildings of planes and curves strung along a central boulevard known as the Esplanade of Ministries.
The city was the brainchild of Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, who was the Brazilian president between 1956 and 1961.
The project was highly ambitious but was officially inaugurated just four years after work was started in 1956 and includes buildings such as the National Cathedral - a crown-shaped structure of glass suspended between concrete struts which sweep upwards and inwards and then reach out to the heavens.
Rather than dark and forbidding like the interiors of older cathedrals, the inside is awash with light.
Niemeyer was Brazil's best-known architect. The last giant of the modern movement, he is a very Brazilian modernist, sculpting curves from concrete.
Rejecting the cube shapes favoured by his modernist predecessors, Niemeyer built some of the world's most striking buildings - monumental, curving concrete and glass structures which almost defy description.
Concrete, curves, colour - the Museum of Modern Art in Niteroi, across the bay from Rio de Janeiro, typifies Niemeyer's style.
Visitors enter the saucer-shaped cliff top gallery - which Niemeyer has likened to a flower reflected in the pool at its base - via a snaking ramp.
In the course of his long career, he snapped up just about every important commission going in Brazil - to some resentment from his peers. He accepted that great buildings were often the reserve of the rich - but he hoped that he could provide joy and amazement for ordinary people.
Oscar Niemeyer was born into a financially comfortable family in Rio de Janeiro in 1907. After graduating in the mid-1930s, he joined a Rio architectural firm.
Having won wide praise for a number of buildings in Brazil, he was chosen in the early 1950s to be part of an international team given the task of designing the UN buildings in New York.
Niemeyer was a life-long communist so when a military dictatorship came to power in Brazil in 1964, he was forced to move to France. However, his work took him all over the world. While in exile, he continued to pick up almost every major commission in Brazil, as well as exporting his signature curves to the world. This is Le Havre's "volcano" arts centre, designed in 1982.
In the 1980s he returned to Rio - his true spiritual home.
Niemeyer continued working even after his 100th birthday.