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Costa was aBrazilianarchitectandurban
planner, best known for his plan forBraslia.
Costa was born inToulon,France on 27th
february 1902.
He graduated as an architect in 1924 from
the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de

After some early works in

the eclectic manner, he
adopted Modernism in
In 1930 Costa established
a partnership with Russianborn Brazilian
Warchavchik, and also
became the Director of the
National School of Fine Arts
where he had studied.


Lucio Costa is often acclaimed as the man
who first introduced the Modern Movement
to Brazil.
His work was majorly inspired by the works
and design theories of architect Le Corbusier.
Having for instance been appointed head of
national school of fine arts in 1930, Costa
was instrumental in making the connection
between architecture and modern

Lucio Costa became famous for a

long career in which he built little,
wrote much, and became involved in
a number of high-profile
He designed several houses and
won two important competitions,
both with neo-colonial designs: the
brazilian pavilion at the
international exhibition (1925) in
philadelphila, and the headquarters
of the argentine embassy (1928), rio
de janeiro (neither of which was

The interest created by the work of Lucio

Costa is the result of the strict relationship
he established between traditional
construction, the Brazilian baroque
aesthetic and the modernists, varying
them in accordance with an attitude
simultaneously humanist and classical.
Lucio Costa continued his professional
career at the Institute of National
Historical and Artistic Heritage (Iphan), a
world pioneer in actions for the protection
of the urban and natural environment,
where he remained until 1972.

The dual roles of contemporary architect

and specialist in preserving the LusoBrazilian tradition enabled Lucio Costa's
ideas to have an influence throughout
Despite criticism for being excessively
functional, Braslia is a dividing line
between Brazilian and international

His designs were seen as a perfect
combination of traditional Brazilian
style of architecture and modern
forms and techniques.
As inspired by Le Corbusier his works
also display the varied use of
reinforced concrete.

Brazilian pavilion at the New York
World's Fair of 1939.
the Parque Guinle residential complex
in Rio of 1948.
the Hotel do Park So Clemente in
Nova Friburgo of 1948.

TheMinistry of Education and

Health, in Rio (193643).
The Pilot Plan ofBraslia, a
competition winner designed in

The first large scale exercise of the
erotically charged modernist
architecturematerialized outsideBrazil,
however, in the form of the Brazilian
Pavilion at the New York Worlds Fair of
It was the first complete collaboration
between Niemeyer and Costa.
Was located in the section of the fair given
over to national pavilions.

The construction of the building was

completed in a very short span of 5 months.
It is a three storeyed structure built on I
plan framing a small lake to the rear.

Raised partly on pilotis, and with an unusual

brise-soleil on the front facade like a
miniature version of the system used on the
MES, the pavilion was dominated by a wide,
curving pedestrian ramp that scooped up
visitors to the first floor.
From here, they passed through a generous,
curving entrance hall with a small bar serving
coffee, to a series of stands showing off
Brazilian commercial products: coffee, nuts,
chocolate, tobacco, cotton and palm oil.

There was a formal exhibition hall with

paintings by Portinari, a magnificent
curving bar specializing in caipirinhas and
a circular dance-hall.
The Brazilian Pavilion represented this
soft diplomacy brief with an exuberant and
decidedly erotic building.
It was full of curves, up to that point
unimaginable in aModernistbuilding,
certainly in New York.

It encouraged visitors to look at each

other as much as the products on
display: the sinuous mezzanine above
the main hall provided a voyeuristic
pause in the program for the visitor to
look down at others.
And it provided plenty of spaces for
simple pleasures the bar and dance
floor were not secondary spaces, but
central to the program

The pavilion definedBrazil, in other

words, as a sensuous place above all,
responsible for the production of
pleasurable goods for world-wide
consumption (coffee, cigarettes,
chocolate), and populated by a pleasureseeking population.

The pavilions starting point may

have been
theModernistlanguage defined
by Le Corbusier, but the
sensuality of the programas
realized helped define a
distinctive, and decidedly erotic,
Brazilian form ofModernism.

Brasilia is thefederal capitalofBrazil.
The city was planned and developed in
1956 withLucio Costaas the principal
urban planner andOscar Niemeyeras
the principal architect.
Viewed from above, the main portion
of the city resembles an airplane or a

Lucio Costa won a contest and was the

main urban planner in 1957, with 5550
people competing.
Braslia was built in 41 months, from 1956
to April 21, 1960, when it was officially
The city is located in the hinterlands of

Costa's Plano Piloto (Pilot Plan) for

Braslia is in the shape of an irregular
cross, suggesting an airplane or
According to Lucio Costa A basic idea
of Modernism is that unplanned
development leads to a chaos,
whereas totally centralized city
planning could build an ideal city
which in turn could create an ideal
The planning of an ideal city was the

The four basic needs for the planning of

an ideal city given by Le Corbusier were:1} Well ventilated residences near green
2} The separation of residences from
workplaces, with industries excluded
from the city proper.
3} Exclusive space for cultural activities,
near residencies.
4} The separation of the circulation of
vehicles and pedestrians.


ThePilot Planwas based on the shape of an
The basis of the city is aMonumental Axis, or
fuselage of an airplane, intersecting in the
center of the city with a Residential axis, or
the wings of an airplane.
Costa designed the city in four scales of
design, a monumental scale, a residential
scale, a gregarious scale, and a bucolic scale.


intended to provide Braslia with the
dignity of a capital city. This was
achieved with wide avenues of six lanes
in each direction, theEsplanade, where
theministries andpublic buildingsare
located, the bus station, where the two
axis cross, theCathedral and the Plaza
of Three Powers.


orderly superblocks with a uniform
height of six stories, no high rises, and
vast motorways providing an excellent
transportation system. The superblocks
also had ample parking for vehicles, low
population density, and plenty of wide
open green space for people to enjoy.


consisted of the bus station,
andspecial sectorsof the city, like the
entertainment, commerce, and retail

THE BUCOLIC SCALE showed Costa's

intent for Braslia to be a park city,
where everything was seperated by
vast green spaces and parks.

The Pilot Plan was built to house

600,000 people, primarily in
Thesesuperblockswere large groups
of apartment buildings, grouped in a
very orderly manner.
Each group of four superblocks was
supposed to serve as a single
neighborhood unit.
Each group was supposed have a
church, a secondary school, a movie
house, a youth club, and adequate
field space for children to play sports

Each building was only six stories

high, based on the idea that a mother
would still be able to call to her child
below from that height.
The buildings rested on massive
pillars, so there was an open area
beneath the building for free
movement of pedestrians and for
children to play under during
inclement weather.
Also in between the superblocks
were lower buildings for commercial

The intent of these superblocks was to create single

neighborhood units with all the necessary services
located close at hand.
This would negate the absolute need for a vehicle
to perform daily functions like running errands, and
make Braslia a more personal, community oriented

One of the greatest accomplishments of the

Pilot Plan was the vast highway network which
was built to provide access to Braslia from
practically everywhere in Brazil.





Gustavo Capanema Palace

It is an office building inRio de
Janeirothat is one of the finest
examples of Brazilian 1930s
modernist architecture.
It was designed by a team composed
ofLucio Costa, along withAffonso
Eduarad Reidy,Ernani
Vasconcellos,Carlos LeoandJorge
Machado Moreira andOscar Niemeyer.

Ar. Le Corbusier was called upon for the

special guidance.
The building now houses Brazil's
newMinistry of Education and Health.
The project was extremely bold for the time.
It was the firstmodernistpublic building in
the Americas.
As a result of the effect of modernism in
Brazil, it employed local materials and
techniques, like the blue and white ceramic
tiles linked to the Portuguese tradition.

Despite being a large office building, the

structure has a distinct lightness to it, as it is
raised on round columns with access
unobstructed from surrounding sidewalks and
pedestrian areas.
The building embraces bold colours and
contrasts of right angles and flowing curves,
such as the vitreous blue curving structures on
the roof hiding the water tanks and elevator
An internal concrete frame allowed the two
broad sides of the building to be entirely of glass

Tropical sunshine on glass walls is

controlled by Corbusian sun-shades
(brises-soleil) made adjustable in a
system that was the first of its kind in
the world.
Tropical gardens were laid out by the
great landscape architectRoberto
Burle Marx; these included majestic
Imperial Palms known as the
Brazilian order.
The building also included specially
commissioned works of other
Brazilian artists. Most notable are the
mural tiles outside and large wall

The building is
important in the
history of Brazil.
Modernism there
gained great
momentum as an
aesthetic turning
of the page
against the "old"
Brazil, rural,


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