Lucio Costa

Lúcio Costa was a Franco-Brazilian architect and urban planner, considered to be the leader of the Modern Movement in Brazil. Born in 1902 in Toulon, France , he completed his training at the Escola Nacional de Bellas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, in 1924, in an environment fully immersed in the latest European avant-garde trends.


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  • 1 Early years
  • 2 Professional videos
  • 3 Opera
  • 4 Sources

early years

He was born on February 27, 1902, in Toulon, France. Around 1917, together with his family, he moved to Brazil . Later, he entered the School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro to begin his architecture studies, from which he graduated in 1924. Although most of his training was based on the classical conception of architecture, he soon showed his interest in the new currents and by works and modern architects, such as Le Corbusier.

Professional life

He became associated with Gregori Warchavchik , a Russian architect based in Brazil who was also a follower of modern architecture. In 1932 Lúcio Costa took over the direction of the National School of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro and attempted to introduce a modernized theory into architecture courses. However, this intention was not well seen and in the face of harsh criticism, he left his post shortly after.


In 1935, together with other architects of the time, including Oscar Niemeyer , he was commissioned to design the project for the Ministry of Education and Health. This work, directed first by Lúcio Costa and later by Niemeyer, was completed in 1946. The building, which is currently the Gustavo Capanema Palace , respects the five great architectural ideas of Le Corbusier, who collaborated, sporadically, in this work. The most representative project of his was the Brasilia Pilot Plan .

Costa belongs, since the founding of the National Historical and Artistic Heritage, in 1937, to this organization dedicated to the study of ancient Brazilian architecture and the conservation of artistic monuments. His subsequent constructions, such as the Brazilian Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair , in collaboration with Oscar Niemeyer in 1939, and the houses for rental housing in Nueva Cintra (1948), Bristol (1950), and Caledonia (1954) in Rio , built during the post-war period, still today constitute an important point of reference for young Brazilian architects and an example of the synthesis of the cultural tradition and the dynamic present of the country.

The evolution of Lucio Costa’s architectural career tends towards a growing concern for urbanism, in search of a rapport with the colonial past of the country and the way of dealing with the problems of our time.

One of his most outstanding projects, the pilot plan for Brasilia, chosen in public competition by an international jury in 1956, after being carried out, demonstrated the practical impossibility of carrying out the a priori plans for urbanization of an area, totally frustrated by the domination of a capitalist economy.

The Jacaparagua project , carried out in 1970 by Costa to build a city on a lagoon located south of Rio de Janeiro, with a capacity for two or three million inhabitants, is one of the proposals to control the growing development of the agglomerations of the Third World, one of the great urban problems of the upcoming 21st century.


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