Lucio Costa

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About Lucio Costa

Lucio Costa (27 February 1902 – 13 June 1998) was a Brazilian architect and urban planner, best known for his plan for Brasília.

Lucio Costa is best known for his urban plan for the new capital of Brasília, located in Brazil’s hinterland, having won the job in a 1957 public competition. Costa’s Plano Piloto (Pilot Plan) for Brasília is in the shape of an irregular cross, suggesting an airplane or dragonfly. Costa’s own Parque Guinle project was the model for Brasília’s many residential tower-in-a-park superblocks, and Costa specified even the color of the bus drivers’ uniforms: dark grey and with a cap.

Although named as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the city is notorious for its windswept emptiness and anti-pedestrian layout. Some streets are badly lit because the height and spacing of light standards were not changed with the advent of mercury-vapor bulbs, and World Heritage Site designation has prevented remediation.

Lucio Costa was responsible for the layout, and Oscar Niemeyer responsible for many of the landmark buildings, and there were disputes between the two afterwards as an article in the landmarking decree specifically exempted works from both of them from review by the Heritage Service. Nevertheless, Brasília is also famous for Costa’s “utopian” project; although not fully accomplished, it has produced a city of considerable quality of life, in which the citizens live in wooded areas with sporting and leisure structure (the “superquadras”) flanked by small commercial areas, bookstores and cafés; the city is famous for its relative efficiency of traffic.

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