The Impact of the Modern Movement on Urban Planning in Finland and Brazil: A comparative study through the works of the contemporary architects Alvar Aalto (Finland) and Lucio Costa (Brazil)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractScientificpeer-review


The goals and ambitions in urban planning are changing with the passage of time as the societies and the culture are changing. In the history of urban planning and architecture the first meeting of the CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne), held in Switzerland June 26–28, 1928, is always mentioned to be very important and as a new start. Architecture which earlier had been more national had already become more international after the WW I, and a common base for the new style was shaped by CIAM when the group of the most important European architects were gathered there together.

The plans by the architects during the Modern Movement aimed to make the cities better and healthier, and also the architectural style changed towards the functionalism, international but also different characteristics were distinguished in different countries. However, the modern town doesn’t always match today’s urban ideals. The world is changing more rapidly than ever: the transportations and technology have altered the way we see and experience the world, and the climate crisis has caused the most strongest impact on thinking, science and urban planning.
But the cities are more complicated systems than just architectural visions, and they keep changing, sometimes very harsh and quick, occasionally so slowly that we don’t even recognize the modifications. The architecture of the buildings can be preserved and if admired and iconic, become cultural heritage, sometimes even listed as part of the Unesco World Heritage.

The paper, based on the chronological and systematic review of the urban plans of Alvar Aalto and Lucio Costa, is aiming at to find answers to following questions: What kind of motives and goals the urban plans were carrying? How were the most important urban ideas implemented or are they only kept safe in the archives? How can the message from Aalto’s and Costa’s plans be interpreted today?
The criteria to select the planning projects of Alvar Aalto and Lucio Costa to be reviewed in the research was a) the relevance of the works in their personal trajectory, b) the importance in the local and national context and c) the international perspective.
Alvar Aalto’s and Lucio Costa’s professional life seems to been acted in parallel in many ways. They graduated as architect almost at the same time: Alvar Aalto at the Helsinki Technical Institute 1921 and Lucio Costa 1922 at the ‘Escola Nacional de Belas Artes - ENBA’ in Rio de Janeiro. Both worked in the beginning of the career in private offices, and both were also involved in academia.
Keywords: Urban Planning, Cultural Heritage, Comparative Analysis, Master Plan
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 30 Nov 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Planning History Society Conference
- Moscow, Russian Federation
Duration: 5 Jul 20208 Jul 2020
Conference number: 19


ConferenceInternational Planning History Society Conference
Abbreviated titleIPHS
Country/TerritoryRussian Federation
Internet address


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