Many of his designs began with a quick sketch that embodied his love of the curve — from Einstein’s universe, to the sinewy white beach that he gazed at nearly every day, to the voluptuous women he so loved to watch walking along that beach.

These women, he often said, were his inspiration.

“Curves are the essence of my work because they are the essence of Brazil, pure and simple,” Niemeyer told the Washington Post in 2002. “I am a Brazilian before I am an architect. I cannot separate the two.”

A passionate man, he lived in protest of the right angle “and buildings designed with the ruler and the square.