summary of the day: Record of an experience by Lucio Costa

Written by Mariana Santos

ArqBahia team of authors.

Discover the story behind the relaunch of Lúcio Costa's autobiography by Editora 34

Editora 34 recently announced the relaunch of Lúcio Costa's autobiography, “Registro de uma experience”, a work that documents the life and work of the most influential architect of Brazilian modernism. In this article, we will explore the story behind the relaunch of this important work and examine the life of Lúcio Costa and his contributions to Brazilian architecture.

Who was Lúcio Costa?

Lúcio Costa was a Brazilian architect born in Toulon, France, on February 27, 1902, and died on June 13, 1998, in Rio de Janeiro. He was the son of Joaquim Ribeiro da Costa, an admiral.

Among his most important contributions to architecture In Brazil, highlights include the Pilot Plan project for Brasília, at the time the new capital of Brazil, and the coordination of the construction of the Ministry of Education and Health building in Rio de Janeiro, both projects developed in partnership with architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Lucio Costa is widely considered to be one of the most important architects in Brazilian history, having played a fundamental role in the development of Brazilian modernism.

Relaunch of “Record of an experience”

“Record of an experience” was originally published in 1979, but this new edition by Editora 34 includes an unprecedented preface written by architect Guilherme Wisnik, as well as a series of photographs and illustrations. However, it maintains the original graphic design. The work is a collection of Lúcio Costa's writings, including diaries, memories, poems and essays on his modernist ideas, which document his personal and professional life.

This relaunch is an opportunity for architects, students and architecture enthusiasts to learn more about the life and work of Lúcio Costa, as well as discover more about how important modern architecture is in Brazil.

O book is written by Lucio Costa, with an interview by Mario César Carvalho, editing by Milton Ohata, presentation by Maria Elisa Costa and afterword by Sophia da Silva Telles.

Lúcio Costa's legacy

Lúcio Costa's legacy in Brazilian architecture is undeniable. He was an advocate of modernism in the country, promoting a functionalist approach to architecture that valued the integration of form and function. His work in Brasília, which won the competition, is, in particular, considered one of the greatest achievements of modern Brazilian architecture. However, there are many other important modern works by him.

Furthermore, Lúcio Costa was instrumental in founding the National School of Fine Arts, where he taught for many years, helping to shape a new generation of Brazilian architects and change the curriculum of the architecture course at the time.


In short, the relaunch of “Record of a Experience” is an excellent opportunity to explore the life and work of one of the most important architects in Brazil. The work documents the architect's personal and professional history and shows Lucio Costa's opinions on various subjects, offering a unique insight into the development of modern architecture in the country. If you are an architecture student, an architect or an architecture enthusiast, this is a work that you should not miss reading.

Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer

Book summary

“Record of an Experience” is an autobiographical work by the prominent Brazilian architect and urban planner, Lúcio Costa, published posthumously in 1995. The book is composed of a series of essays, reminiscences and reflections about the author’s life and work, considered one of the main references in the context of modern architecture in Brazil.

Throughout the work, Lúcio Costa exposes his professional career and more intimate aspects of his existence, such as his memories of childhood and adolescence, his coexistence with artists and intellectuals of the time and his impressions of Brazilian society. The author reports on his experiences and the difficulties he faced along his journey, such as the criticism received for his avant-garde vision of architecture and urbanism.

In his work, Lúcio Costa defends the importance of integration between the arts and the need to seek innovative and efficient solutions to urban dilemmas. The author argues that architecture should not be seen just as a technical activity, but as a cultural and social expression that should help improve people's quality of life.

“Records of an Experience” presents itself as essential reading for those who wish to understand the trajectory and legacy of Lúcio Costa, one of the main architects and urban planners in Brazil. The book is a valuable source of information and reflections on modern architecture in the country and on the urban problems that Brazilian society still faces.

If you want the text to print, click here.

What texts are included in Record of an Experience?

The texts by Lucio Costa that are in the book Registro de uma experience are, in order:

  1. ENBA 1917-22
  2. Memory of Ismael Nery
  3. Diamond
  4. Academic eclecticism, 1922-28
  5. 1920s (Post-war alienation. FASHION
  6. Letters, 1926-27
  7. Mary Houston, Travel Log
  8. Flag
  9. Correias, Leleta, 1929-31
  10. Fábio Carneiro de Mendonça country house, 1930
  11. Casa EG Fontes, 1930 (Last manifestation of eclectic-academic meaning)
  12. Casa EG Fontes, 1930 (First proposition with a contemporary meaning)
  13. Itamaraty
  14. ENBA 1930-31, Teaching situation at the School of Fine Arts
  15. Hall 31
  16. Gregori Warchavchik
  17. Gamboa, Proletarian apartments, 1932
  18. Seasonal atmosphere, Lunch on Urca hill
  19. Casa Schwartz, 1932, Rua Raul Pompeia (no longer exists)
  20. Charlotte Perriand
  21. Awareness, 1930s
  22. ugly word
  23. "Eve?"
  24. Finding, 1932, more than half a century ago, therefore
  25. Chômage, 1932-36
  26. Ownerless houses
  27. 1
  28. 2
  29. 3
  30. Monlevade (1934, project rejected)
  31. Forgotten Projects, 1930s
  32. Casa Carmem Santos
  33. Maria Dionesia House
  34. Álvaro Osório de Almeida House
  35. Casa Genival London
  36. Coelho Duarte Farm
  37. Implementation studies (Casa Hamann, Saint Roman street)
  38. Reasons for the new architecture, 1934
  39. Interests to the student
  40. Interests to the architect
  41. Ministry of Education and Health, 1936
  42. Postscript (The origin of everything/Invitation letter from Minister Capanema)
  43. Clarification (to the Minister of Finance, at the request of Minister Capanema)
  44. Personal account, 1975
  45. Mise au point, 1949
  46. Alert, 1986 (Letter to Minister Celso Furtado)
  47. Presence of Le Corbusier
  48. A lot of construction, some architecture and a miracle, 1951 (Testimony from a Rio architect)
  49. University City, 1936-37
  50. Brazil Pavilion, 1939 New York World's Fair (Collaboration and worldwide release by Oscar Niemeyer)
  51. Homemade Letter
  52. Oscar Niemeyer, Preface to the book by Stamo Papadaki, 1950
  53. Oscar 50 years, 1957
  54. Testimony, 1948
  55. Disencounter, 1953
  56. Pedregulho, AFfonso Eduardo Reidy
  57. Guinle Park, 1940s
  58. Park Hotel, Friborg, 1940s
  59. Casa Hungary Machado
  60. Casa Saavedra, 1940s
  61. Heloísa's house
  62. Brasília House, 1960
  63. Delfim Moreira 1212, penthouse, 1963
  64. Caio Mário, 200, 1982
  65. Caio Mário, 55, 1988
  66. Barreirinha, Amazonas, 1978
  67. Student House, Cité Universitaire, Paris, 1952, Letter to Rodrigo
  68. Bioclimatic architecture, 1983
  69. From Drawing, 1940
  70. Considerations on contemporary art, 1940s
  71. Formes et fonctions, 1967
  72. Art, normal manifestation of life, 1968
  73. The architect and contemporary society, 1952
  74. urbanism
  75. B rasília, the city I invented
  76. “Ingredients” of Brasília’s urban design
  77. Memoir Description of the Pilot Plan, 1957
  78. Salute to art critics, 1959
  79. The urban planner defends his city, 1967
  80. Monumental Axis
  81. Highway-Resindeicla Axis
  82. Road Platform, On-site interview, 1984, November
  83. Rest with you
  84. Souvenir of the Seminar, Senate, Brasília, 1974
  85. Rectifications, 1970s and 80s
  86. Key Considerations
  87. Brasília 1957-85, From the pilot plan to the “Plano Piloto”, Confrontation
  88. Fontenelle, 1984
  89. Brasilia revisited, 1987
  90. Economic Quadras, 1985
  91. Alagados, 1972
  92. The problem of public housing
  93. Semi-detached houses

  1. C&S Urban Planning Ltda. , 1987
  2. Chapada dos Guimarães, 1978
  3. Barra, 1969
  4. Future Metropolitan Center, Block implementation scheme
  5. Personal record, 1974
  6. Posture
  7. Seem
  8. Nigeria, 1976
  9. New Urban Hub, São Luís
  10. Casablanca, 1980-81, “Corniche”
  11. Rio De Janeiro, 1989
  12. Architectural Map of Rio De Janeiro
  13. Traffic in the 1940s, Menezes Cortes
  14. Rio, difficult city, 1970s
  15. Propositions, 1974
  16. Political-ideological intermezzo, Unlinking, Arica, 1961
  17. Option, recommendations and message
  18. Letter to the Americans, On board of SS “Rio Tunuyan”, 1961
  19. The day before, Pessimistic allegory, 1961
  20. Letter that was not
  21. De Gaulle – Gorbachev, 1990
  22. Waste, 1991
  23. The new Scientific and Technological Humanism, 1961
  24. Museum of Science and Technology, 1970s
  25. Scientific and technological development as part of nature, Theory of Convergent Resultants
  26. The Believer and the one who disbelieves, Message to SS the Pope, Alceu Amoroso Lima
  27. Elucidation, From “no being” – nec entem (pas un être) – to being
  28. XIII Milan Triennale, 1961, “Free time”, Brazilian Pavilion: RIPOSATEVI
  29. Rampas da Glória, 1960s, Collaboration Emilio Gianelli
  30. Eucharistic Congress, 1955, Original risk
  31. Estácio de Sá
  32. Jockey Club of Brazil
  33. Banco Aliança
  34. Snapshot, 1990, The 1980s in architecture
  35. Postmodern, Misconception
  36. C Catacumba Park, 1979
  37. Virzi, Proposal for listing, 1970
  38. Protest, Sugar Loaf
  39. Roberto Burle AMrx
  40. Raymundo de Castro Maya
  41. Fernando Valentim
  42. Alcides da Rocha Miranda
  43. Two houses – Zanine
  44. JFL – Lelé, 1985
  45. LC na Repartição, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, 1982
  46. SPHAN, National Historical and Artistic Heritage Service, Vocation, 1970
  47. Rodrigo and his times
  48. Conceptualization
  49. Western tradition
  50. Local tradition
  51. Introduction to a report, 1948
  52. Required documentation, 1938
  53. Portuguese-Brazilian furniture, 1939
  54. Gold Museum, Sabará
  55. Quinta do Tanque, Opinion, 1949
  56. Frei Bernando de São Bento, the 17th century architect of Rio de Janeiro, Remembrance of d. Clemente da Silva-Nigra
  57. The craft of silver
  58. The architecture of the Jesuits in Brazil, 1941
  59. The Seven Peoples of the Missions, Spanish Province, 1938
  60. Missions Museum
  61. Notes as you remember
  62. Emphasis
  63. Catas Altas do Mato Dentro
  64. Antônio Francisco Lisboa, known as Aleijadinho
  65. Precious document, 1968
  66. Lygia Martins Costa
  67. The Architecture of Antônio Francisco Lisboa as revealed in the original 1774 design for the Franciscan chapel of São João del-Rei
  68. Rodrigo's lesson
  69. Prophets or conspirators?
  70. Visits
  71. Ditchling
  72. Montreux
  73. Rott am Inn
  74. Epidaurus
  75. Chicago, The “Witch”
  76. Vervey-Corsier
  77. Saint-Tropez, Boutique Brésilienne
  78. Potpourri, Cape Cod, Moscow, Florence
  79. Marrakech, 1980
  80. Nungesser et Coli
  81. Ronchamp
  82. Premonition
  83. The wall, Regina Modesto Guimarães
  84. Roquebrune
  85. Le Mourillon
  86. Archaeological-sentimental appendix, The Wheelhouse
  87. In extremis, The unusual shuttlecock
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