Archives for posts with tag: Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake

The Torre Pedroso de Moraes and the Torre Faria Lima in the business district along the Avenida Faria Lima in Sao Paulo are a pair of landmarks. Developed for Brazilian company Aché Pharma, Faria Lima stand head and shoulders above the surrounding mixed-use buildings, while Pedroso de Moraes provides a tongue-in-cheek foil. The high tower is iconic near and far.

Street-level view

Street-level view with theatre entrance below

Pedroso de Moraes was built first, and is known locally as the ‘Palácio da Carambola’ for its star-fruit-shaped supports.

Pure geometry

Pure geometry

The inverted ziggurat of Pedroso de Moraes is a kind of anti-tower, its sharp edges and broad-shouldered shape a riposte to the sleek areodynamics above.

Intersecting volumes

Intersecting volumes

Yet they interact harmoniously, the high-gloss finish serving to unite as well as to reflect.

Glossy surfaces

Reflective surfaces

A familiar sight when glimpsed in traffic, Faria Lima surprises with its scale in close-up.

Lilliputian street furniture

It dwarfs the street furniture

The distinctive entrance to the tower’s gallery and theatre is playful compared with its business-like access on Pedroso de Moraes.

Offices of Demarest & Almeida Avogados

Offices of Demarest & Almeida Avogados

The  Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake entrance gives the colours of its tower a playful shake, as if it were a handful of bunting ribbons. (Tomie Ohtake is a Brazilian abstract painter and the mother of the architect, Ruy Ohtake.)

Signature entrance

Signature entrance

The interior foyers are a series of long low spaces built with more of the raw concrete and white steel bracing used for the exterior. Exhibition spaces are the familiar white cuboids, pleasantly high-ceilinged.

Spacious interior view

Spacious interior …

... with comfortable café

… with comfortable café

There were photographic exhibitions on when I visited, both international and Brazilian, including photographs of Brazilian architecture, a fitting subject for such a well-known edifice.

Iconic building

Iconic building …

... with local adventures ...

… with local adventures …

... in architecture to match

… in architecture to match

One suspects that when Aché Pharma, recently the subject of bid speculation, becomes as obscure a name as Pedroso de Moraes – a Brazilian pioneer bandeirante known as “Terror dos Indios” – the tower for which they funded the development will still be known by the name of its architect.

Reflected cloudscape

Reflected cloudscape

Banded colour

Banded colour …

... carried through into interior

… carried through into interior

Carambola support

Carambola support

Even more dramatic at night

Even more dramatic at night


Ex shop fitting

Down towards the Marginal Pinheiros, one of Sao Paulo’s ring roads, the street is being dug up. Drainage is being renewed, curbs and surfaces relaid, traffic re-routed. It displaces the locals and confuses the visitor – it seems a sign of something afoot in this suburb.

Gentrification in action on the top floor STOP PRESS Road being re-surfaced

In  nearby areas, properties are renovated, chic boutiques open, restaurants flourish: the growing middle class is bringing prosperity to these city suburbs.  The area is mixed use – a mobile phone supplier below, rented residential above, a seamstress next door.

Judging by the sign, this has been for sale for some time.

Everyday life is disrupted by such development, and the old neighbourhood living patterns broken up.

Displaced fruit vendor still trading

The traces of earlier waves of development are evident. Against local opposition, housing was removed in the late 1960s to make way for the extension of Avenida Faria Lima. Outlines of buildings remain, street art forgotten and overgrown.

Avenida Faria Lima

Sometimes a vista is newly emphasised – a church hoves into view, the foliage of a tree is highlighted.

Waiting for the tarmac

This modern gem seems safe, being a university building.

Universidade Paulista (UNIP) law school building …

The water tower is pure War of the Worlds.

… with … is it a Martian Tripod on the roof?

Complete with green street art

It seems clear that small-scale street life is to be dwarfed by the beautiful behemoths of corporate Brasil, although gallery art is included, as in the Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake.

Torrre Faria Lima, and Torrre Pedroso de Moraes housing Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake

The corporations support local initiatives like this river water purification project and park hard by the Marginal – and if you could smell the river, you’d understand.

View from Praca Victor Civita

The decking is suspended above layered beds, where maize and bio-diesel plants grow, and rain and river water are filtered. Businesses display their CSR (corporate social responsibility) credentials with pride – there’s a sponsored ‘green school’ with an education and cultural programme run by the Sao Paulo city Prefeitura.

Verdescola and other social responsibility opportunities

The destitute and the yoga class mix warily under the gaze of the towers. Such disparity of opportunity jars. Is this truly the best that can be done?

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