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Interesting Buildings in São Paulo

Considered as the Brazilian capital of skyscrapers, São Paulo receives many tourists who are interested in visiting several famous buildings or buildings in unusual architecture styles. According to a survey conducted by the Tourism and Events Observatory (a research center of São Paulo Turismo), around 3% of the visitors who go to Tourist Information Centers (CITs) seek information on architecture, art, and design in the capital.

It can be said that people sightseeing on the streets of São Paulo, while examining the buildings of different styles, shapes, and sizes, take a true dive in the history of the city and its many great names in architecture.

Check out a list of places that are considered to be architectural icons of São Paulo.

Pateo do Collegio. Photograph by José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

Pateo do Collegio – The place that marks the site where São Paulo city was founded, featuring architectural characteristics from the 19th century. The building houses Padre Anchieta Museum and Chappel, with a collection of around 700 items, many of which that belonged to the old Jesuit church and school.

Theatro Municipal de São Paulo. Photograph by José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

Theatro Municipal – It is the most lavishly decorated building in São Paulo, with gold paintings and majestic stairways. This monument was designed in 1903 by architects Domiziano Rossi and Cláudio Rossi, from Escritório Técnico Ramos de Azevedo (Ramos de Azevedo Technical Office). It opened in 1911 and hosted São Paulo’s Modern Art Week in 1922.

São Bent Monastery – It was designed by architect Richard Berndl, a professor in Munich University, in 1910. The building houses Our Lady of Assumption Basilica and Saint Benedict School.

Guinle Building – Considered to be the first vertical building in São Paulo and one of the first construction projects using reinforced concrete in Brazil, it was designed by architects Gustavo Pujol Júnior and Augusto de Toledo. Built between 1913 and 1916, the building façade displays coffee branches and berries.

Martinelli Building – Hungarian architect William Fillinger, from Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, was responsible for designing what would be a 12-floor building. However, the project owner, Giuseppe Martinelli, intended to build a 30-floor building.  Open in 1929, it was the tallest building in the world, apart from the United States. The construction has the three basic divisions of classic architecture: base, shaft, and capital.

Court of Justice  – With its decoration inspired in Mayan architecture, this building was designed in 1933 by architect Felisberto Ranzini and open in 1937 as the Stock Market headquarters.

Matarazzo Building – Known as Banespinha, because it housed one of the branches of São Paulo State Bank (Banespa) until 2003, the building was open in 1939 in order to be the headquarters office of Indústrias Reunidas Francisco Matarazzo (Francisco Matarazzo Industrial Complex). Designed by Italian architect Marcello Piacentini, it has been São Paulo’s city hall since 2004.

Copan Building – Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, in 1954, this building is one of the symbols of modern Brazilian architecture. The S-shaped building was originally commissioned by the Companhia Pan-Americana de Hotéis e Turismo (Pan American Company of Hotels and Tourism).

Edifício Copan. Photograph by José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

SPTuris gathers some buildings of architectural interest in its theme guide Arquitetura pelo Centro Histórico (Architecture through the Historic Center).

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