paulo mendes da rocha studio visit, sao paulo
paulo mendes da rocha studio visit, sao paulo paulo mendes da rocha studio visit, sao paulo
mar 14, 2013

paulo mendes da rocha studio visit, sao paulo

architect paulo mendes da rochaimage © designboom




paulo mendes da rocha is one of the most prominent brazilian architects of our time; although his work is almost exclusively located in south america, his design concepts have spread throughout the world. his first design was built in 1957, three years after graduating from the universidade presbiteriana mackenzie college of architecture, utilizing what many consider to be ‘brazilian brutalism’, and is widely accredited to the contemporary transformation of his home city. he taught at the university of sao paulo and acted as president of the brazilian institute for architects. for his renovation of the ‘pinacoteca do estado’ museum of fine arts, he was awarded the mies van der rohe prize in 2000 followed by the coveted pritzker prize in 2006. he now works in collaboration with smaller local firms to complete a range of projects on an international scale. designboom recently visited the renowned architect’s studio in sao paulo, in a corner building surrounded by temporary panels exhibiting pro-niemeyer graffiti.


see designboom’s interview with the acclaimed architect in 2007 here.

architect paulo mendes da rocha’s work deskimage © designboom

studio work spaces in an open plan room organized by bookshelves full of files and notebooksimage © designboom

architect martin corullon of metro arquitetos at paulo mendes da rocha’s studioimage © designboom




sao paulo-based practice metro arquitetos associados has collaborated with da rocha on several successful projects including the reconstructed ‘leme gallery‘ in sao paulo, the ‘museum of modern art‘ in santos, and their newest project the ‘cais das artes‘ in vitoria.

 ‘cais das artes’ by metro arquitetos in collaboration with paulo mendes da rochaimage © leonardo finotti




‘this is an urban-oriented architectural action, in the sense of adjusting history and geography to a desired view of the present, indicating at the same time a museological conception, an effort to combine art and science, under an integrated perspective.’  – paulo mendes da rocha




the project, nearing completion, features large concrete structures lifted off the ground almost completely erasing notions of weight. the open porosity at ground level maintains sight lines to the sea and towards the city, preserving the original nature of the site. two conceptually mirrored but structurally independent volumes – a long rectangular bridge and a cuboid form encroaching into the water – one of which houses the museum and the other a 1,300-seat capacity theater. in between them, a long expansive concrete courtyard provides public space for larger scale art exhibitions and events, or simply for the community to enjoy.

preliminary sketches of the ‘cais das artes’ complex









study model of the cais das artesimage © designboom

image © designboom

archived drawings from de rocha’s architectural career stored in his studioimage © designboom

da rocha’s studio building – studio space illuminatedimage © designboom

graffiti recalling the late oscar niemeyer at the base of da rocha’s studio buildingimage © designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    492,661 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample