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Oscar Niemeyer’s Secrets to a Long and Happy Life: Drawing, Cuban Cigars and Not Talking About Architecture

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Architect Oscar Niemeyer turns 100 in December but according to this rare interview in the Guardian, he shows no sign of slowing down. He still works at a penthouse studio in Copacabana, where he lives in an “ordinary apartment” nearby. He still surrounds himself with legends–in the last few weeks he hung out with Hugo Chavez and received a box of cigars from Fidel Castro. But when it comes to discussing his buildings, what Niemeyer has to say might surprise you:

I don’t like to talk about architecture,” he says. “Life is too short for that, a breath, that’s all – it matters far more than buildings.” This seems an odd thing to say for a man who has not only designed some of the most admired, and beautiful, buildings of the past 70 years, but who has lived and breathed architecture as few others have, and who has outlived his contemporaries. “All my old friends and sparring partners are dead,” he says.

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