Archives for posts with tag: Ruy Ohtake

The old Sao Paulo is surrounded. The ‘vila’ houses are still evident in side-streets, dwarfed by the towers of offices and apartments. They command a premium price, although fears about their security also feature.

Rua Irmao Lucas

On the busy thoroughfare of Avenida Faria Lima, office blocks jostle with shopping centres. Begun in the late 1960s, Faria Lima was built at the expense of older residential districts (even more so than Avenida Paulista in the CBD). It is a showcase of Brasilian architecture of the era.

Parking station (estacionamento) on Avenida Reboucas, near Faria Lima

The Brasilian habit of vertical gardening softens the occasional outline …

Planting, Faria Lima

… though other ways to disguise the ferro-concrete box include tile work …

Tile facing, Faria Lima

… concrete mouldings …

Window frames, Faria Lima

… coloured window film …

Angled casements, Faria Lima

… or perhaps something unintentional. Landlords may stop their tenants from installing outside air conditioning units.

Individual air conditioning, Faria Lima

There’s an occasional homage to early US skyscrapers …

Retro-styled block, Faria Lima

… but only the sleekest, chic-est towers depart from the plain rectangular. (More on Ruy Ohtake at

Torres Pedroso de Moraes & Faria Lima. Brasilan architect Ruy Ohtake for Aché Pharma

The tower blocks advance steadily on low-rise housing.

View from top floor, Shopping Eldorado, Avenida Reboucas …

As night falls, darkness and lighting soften their outlines.

… “um vista cartão postal” according to the waiter …

The lights of passing cars, aeroplanes and helicopters animate the scene.

… at Hiro Restaurante Japonês; recommended.

The hum and roar of traffic plays a low continuo for the city, never completely asleep.

Estacionamento, Avenida Reboucas, by night

Drinks at the fashionable (or as they say here, “chic-y”) Hotel Unique. By day it alludes to a slice of watermelon – Japanese Brasilian architect Ruy Ohtake also used an ‘inverted’ solid for his Instituto Tomie Ohtake – but by night it’s more science fiction: overcast sky lit by apartment towers on the horizon, traffic streaming by in the rain, no obvious access – you just drive in over the gravelled frontage – and an army of men in dark clothes to park your car and direct you. In at the doorway on the right, you enter a dark space and a dim and sombre lift. City views from the lift as you ascend. You step into a short passage lined with back-lit panels of translucent stone, and into the bar.

You walk past the on-show kitchen where final prep is done, to the bar – copious spirits and mixed drinks. It’s like a busy party; a booking of businessmen having a drink before dinner, Australian travellers, Paulistanos, staff threading their way through. Past the bar you step up through glass doors to a glass-walled rooftop terrace with swimming pool. Beyond the glass walls, spotlit planting suggests desert.

The view is Sao Paulo impressive – set in a little valley crammed with buildings to the horizon and beyond. Communications towers wink and glow. The decking gleams in the rain, table umbrellas offer shelter.

And when you come back down to ground level, the world seems slightly duller by comparison. You want to go and stand by the giant upright, lit with colour and soaring up to the apex of the curve, sheathed with wood underneath, echoing the shuttering pattern on the ferro-concrete. The excitement of this architecture is compulsive.

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