São Paulo has for several decades suffered a serious identity crisis when it comes to construction and architecture. After all, what is the standard of St. Paul? One of the largest metropolises on the planet has become a tangle of dubious tastes and styles. This situation does not allow us to establish a brand that is characteristic of São Paulo in the face of the world.
When we see aerial images of the old and the new, the modern and the contemporary, we realize that the capital has had its golden age in architecture. Buildings Martinelli, Altino Arantes (Banespão), Copan, old Hilton, Italy and later the then skyscrapers of Paulista between the 60s and 70s, set the tone of modernism and the economic strength of the metropolis.
From the 1980s, this trend collapsed as the city rose. The verticalization increased as never before, however, the architectural identity did not follow. We can be impressed by beautiful and glazed buildings of Vila Olímpia and Berrini, but what do these add to the landscape? With a slightly sharper sense of observation, you do not have to be an architect to realize the similarity between most of these buildings. We do not work with new features, with the differential. Glass in a tropical country, with very high solar availability, which will bring closings of curtains and the constant use of air conditioning is a test.
In addition, unprecedented real estate speculation, coupled with endemic corruption in the city’s control and oversight bodies, allowed for criminal aberrations. Districted entire districts to give rise to vertical buildings, both residential and commercial, called “progress.” Mooca, Lapa, Ipiranga, Vila Prudente or Vila Mariana are no longer the same quiet neighborhoods and single-storey houses as they were a little more than a decade ago. Today, residents have come across stakes, concrete mixer trucks, cranes and scaffolding, which from one day to the next raise a new neoclassical next door. Trying to portray the “status” of the Greco-Roman period erase the city’s so rich recent history.
The impacts are incontestable in the landscape and in the social and urban dynamics of these regions. More residents, with more parking spaces and more cars. Increased overload in the water and sewage networks and not to mention the increase in the accumulation of electricity wires, telephony, cable TV. Let us see, then, how many upheaval verticalization without prior planning causes.
The lack of an architectural identity and the omission of the public power leads to situations as we can see below:
São Paulo counts on excellent universities and professionals of Architecture and Urbanism, nevertheless, it needs to “meet”. Of course, the problem is not unique to the metropolis of São Paulo. It is part of a general loss of identity of our architecture (with exceptions) since the end of modernism. But in this metropolis, everything becomes more evident.
Hopefully new directions and new ways of thinking architecture and the city will be put into practice. After all, São Paulo does not deserve to be solely at the mercy of real estate speculation, economic and with professionals attached to the tastes of the builders. It needs to innovate and has all the potential to take the reins to a new Brazilian architectural moment. All this without neglecting its rich history, in recent times, completely abandoned.