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Corb can't claim ministry though larger than life

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I did not attend the seminar 'Rio de Janeiro: Ideals of Modernity' but I would question Clare Melhuish credit to Le Corbusier's Ministry of Health and Education in 1943, which she said 'really seemed to symbolize the opening of the modern age' (AJ 12.4.01). Le Corbusier's participation on this building seems like the character, larger than life.

It was Lucio Costa who received the commission in 1936 and he formed a group of young architects which included Niemeyer, Leao, Moreira and Vasconcelos.

Le Corbusier was invited to act as a consultant, his work was limited to two short visits to Rio and it seems he endorsed the final proposals, though they departed dramatically from his initial sketches, for a building on a different site.

The influence of many of the characteristic Corbusian elements is undoubted but credit is due for their interpretation and application on a monumental scale.

Andrew Roberts, Weldon Walshe, London SW1

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