The Serpentine Gallery pavilion 2003, by the seminal Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, is his first completed structure in the UK. Sited on the Gallery's lawn from June 20th to September 14th 2003, it offered visitors an opportunity to experience a space designed by one of the founding figures of modern architecture. Throughout the 1950s, Niemeyer designed ground-breaking public and corporate buildings in Brazil. From 1958 he became chief architect of Nova Cap, the organization charged with the creation of Brasilia, Brazil's new capital city. The work he did on this extraordinary project, which included two of his masterpieces, the 1958-60 Congreso Nacional and the 1960 Catedral Metropolitana, brought him international acclaim. In 1964 a political coup forced him into exile in France, where he designed the Headquarters of the French Communist Party, two Universities in Algeria and several important buildings in Italy. With the end of the Brazilian dictatorship he returned to his native country.
Since then he has continued to push the boundaries of architecture with such breathtaking schemes as the Memorial to Latin America in Sao Paulo (1986-91) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Niteroi (1991). This is the fourth pavilion in the Serpentine Gallery's series of annual architectural commissions, and follows structures by Zaha Hadid (2000), Daniel Libeskind with Arup (2001), and Toyo Ito with Arup (2002).