06/12/2012 04:22 GMT | Updated 06/12/2012 10:44 GMT

Oscar Niemeyer, Modernist Brazilian Architect, Dies Aged 104

Oscar Niemeyer, the modernist Brazilian architect known for his futuristic designs in concrete, has died just a week before his 105th birthday.

Niemeyer's innovative design defined the identity of modern Brazil, and influenced urban landscapes around the globe.

Best-known for his work on civic buildings for planned city Brasilia in 1960, Niemeyer was also part of the team which designed the iconic United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York. His innovative work in exploring how reinforced concrete could be used to create beautiful buildings affected 20th and 21st century architecture.

Niemeyer had been hospitalised for stomach and kidney complaints since November. His death was caused by a lung infection, which developed this week. His body will lie in state at the presidential palace in Brasilia.


Cathedral of Brasilia, an architectural landmark created by architect Oscar Niemeyer, in Brasilia, Brazil

Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janiero, where he also attended art school. In the 1930s his career began, and he quickly became acclaimed for his work. By the mid-20th century, he had achieved international recognition and was one of Brazil's most prominent architects.

Following his collaboration with modern architect pioneer Le Corbusier on the UN Secretariat, he was invited to teach at Yale University and Harvard School of Design.

Niemeyer's stand-out moment came in 1956, when he was asked to design significant buildings in Brasilia, soon to be Brazil's new capital, by the country's new president. Neimeyer was part of the development of the city: transforming an area of remote land into a staggeringly beautiful and contemporary urbanisation.