In 1936 the minister Capanema asked Lucio Costa to design a Ministry of Education and Health building for Rio de Janeiro. Costa drew up a proposal in tune with similar ideas put down shortly before in Europe. This project, understood to be the starting point of a new phase of Latin American architecture, is the theme developed by Roberto Segre in his last work.
Analyzing the role played by Costa, Niemeyer, and Le Corbusier, Segre explains how, with that project, Brazilian architecture moved ahead of that of other countries, and how Costa was teacher to those who collaborated in the studio (Niemeyer, Affonso Reidy, Moreira, Vasconsellos), all of whom would eventually carry out exceptional work. In this way, when in 1943 the MoMA opened its exhibition ‘Brazil Builds’, it was clear to what extent the team led by Costa in the Ministry had known to adopt simple forms, pilotis, garden terraces, glass facades...; elements that began to spread worldwide as the image of a new architecture.
An exceptionally documented research work with previously unpublished graphic material from the IPHAN archives, this was the last book Segre published while alive. He who delved into the contradictions of Latin American architecture, opening up new lines of reflection and debate, never meant it to be his last research work. He took it as his contribution to the country that accommodated him in his final years. And never did he seem to have any clue that this book would become a classic of Latin American historiography.