A very special building was inaugurated in Leipzig in late June. The Niemeyer Sphere is one of the last designs by Oscar Niemeyer, the internationally renowned Brazilian architect. Naturally there is also a story behind it. Ludwig Koehne – a partner at Kirow Ardelt and HeiterBlick, firms that build railway cranes and trams in Leipzig – took the opportunity to look at Brazil’s capital Brasilia while on a business trip to that country. “The Niemeyer buildings there were a revelation for me with their power and vitality,” he reported in an interview with art magazine “monopol”. “Two years later I found myself in a hotel bed in Engadin after a skiing accident. The hotel’s owner had a friend who had had Niemeyer build a house there. At the same time, I had a head of canteen in Leipzig who wanted to do more than just cook canteen food. So, I had some time to ponder, and because I had access to Niemeyer from there, I connected my thoughts.” Koehne wrote a letter to the architect in which the idea of a canteen expansion for the site was brought up for discussion. The idea of a tower-and-sphere structure was born a short while later and was realised in close cooperation with Jair Velara, office manager of Oscar Niemeyer’s studio, after Niemeyer’s death. The “Niemeyer Sphere”, as the building in Leipzig was christened, can be visited and the restaurant booked from September onwards. A film from mdr also shows how the glass on the geodesic dome within the sphere – fitted with liquid crystal windows – can be darkened if needed.

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