I am heading to Sao Paulo & Rio de Janeiro for a week at the end of September and would love your recommendations on architectural must-dos. 

Also, if anyone resides there and would be open to my photographing and writing an article on your home/style-of-life that would be amazing!  I am an architect (working for an eccentric Uruguan) who freelances for a popular home design blog.  It would be wonderful to capture the spirit of Sao Paulo & Rio in a few articles, if possible.    



Jun 22, 11 3:02 pm

It should go without saying that you see all the Oscar Niemeyer that you can.  

Sao Paulo:

This is a MUST!  Go to Da Vila bookstore. They have great book on the architecture of Sao Paulo that includes a map of project locations.  Go there on day one.  Enjoy the city; it's fabulous. 

Check out the work of Marcio Kogan.  


Muse de Arte Moderna - Bonus Oscar Niemeyer about 20 yards away.  

Decameron Furniture

Works by Isay Weinfeld

Galeria Melissa on Rua Oscar Freire

And, for the love of god, I am trying to remember the architects that designed this beautiful exposed concrete women's clothing store in Jardins.  I want to say the architects were called Triptech, Tryptico, ahhhh, something like that.  


Jun 22, 11 11:09 pm

Haven't been to to Brazil but dream of checking out work by Artigas, DaRocha, Bo Bardi. Certainly more intriguing to me than anything by Niemeyer, but I've got a thing for concrete.

Would love to see the Pinacoteca do Estado.  

Jun 23, 11 9:33 am


It’s tryptique, and I think the project you’re talking about is Harmonia 57, although it is not in Jardin. It’s definitely worth seeing though.

Also, works of Paulo Mendez de Rocha, especially Pinacoteca- it’s an incredible space.

And all of the above. Jardin is a great neighborhood to hang out, and you will see a lot of cool stores designed by Isay Weinfeld, Marcio Cogan and the likes. Rio is so impressive and awesome in its geography and natural beauty. That alone will probably overwhelm you on your first visit.




Jun 23, 11 3:50 pm

So I have wrote everything and it was gone. Now short version:


Casa de Canoas and Stadium from Oscar Niemeyer and in Niteroy his great museum with a great view towards Rio.

The parque lage near the lagoa and nearby you can find an old great hospital from A. Ready I think.

If you are interested in urbanism you would recommend Barra da Tijuca - the masterplan was designed by Lucio Costa in 1960.

And a tour in Favela de Rocinha.

Sao Paulo:

Really great and important the Copan building in Sao Paulo - Oscar Niemeyer.

And somehow interesting the buildings from Ruy Othake.

From Paulo Mendes I would recommend: MUBE, a 'forma store' and the sportsclub building near Oskar Freire.... have a lot of fun... two really nice and great cities!

Jun 23, 11 4:31 pm

a definite must-see in Sao Paolo is Sesc Pompeia by Lina bo Bardi

Jun 23, 11 4:34 pm

ah. brazil..and you will absolutely fall in Love with all the Ladies...they are Oscars...muse.

There is a urban ruin  park in Rio up on a mountain top with a small museum close by which is quite nice. I don't know how the neigborhood is now but  it is certainly worth the venture if you have a car.

I will have to ask my brazilian wife for the name.

You will find the pizza in Brazil to die for....along with most of the other food.  Remember to save yourself for the night life! 

Jun 23, 11 7:48 pm

Tryptique!  Yes!  Thanks, miesan.  

Jun 25, 11 4:40 pm

Well, as a Brazilian (and architecture student) I think I could give you some reccomendations. I haven't been able to explore São Paulo and Rio that much in person though.


First of all I'd reccomend you to stay in Ipanema or Leblon. They are the most sophisticated neighborhoods of the city. If you can't afford to stay there, I would stay in Flamengo or Copacabana which are nearby.

Those neighborhoods I mentioned are located in "Zona Sul" the most attractive region of the city. It concentrates most of the tourist attractions, the finest restaurants, bars, clubs, museums etc. It's very walking friendly too.

Places to visit:

- Ipanema beach (for obvious reasons).

- Parque do Flamengo: it's the most beautiful park I've ever visited. It was designed by Burle Marx and you have the most amazing view to Guanabara bay and the Sugar Loaf. Just take a walk there on a sunny sunday morning and enjoy the view.

- Centro: downtown Rio has a lot of beautiful historic buildings, and you can get to visit the only building Corbusier's built in Brazil. Today it's called "Palácio Capanema". I'd recommend you to go downtown on weekdays since it's pretty dead on the weekend. 

- Santa Teresa: the most bohemian and exquisite neighborhood in Rio. It's a totally different place, located on the hills with lots of big old houses which nowadays are trendy hotels (Amy Winehouse stayed in Santa Teresa recently). Just go there on the weekend to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the traditional bars with live Brazilian music. It's the ideal place for visiting before you go to a nightclub. [Santa Teresa is the neighborhood where the urban ruin park snook_dude mentioned is located.]

- Lapa: just go down the hills of Santa Teresa and head to Lapa, it's a place with many different types of nightclubs. You can find all the kinds of people there.

- MAC (museum of contemporary art) designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It's located in Niterói, so you have to cross the Rio-Niterói bridge to go there. You have the most amazing view of Guanabara bay in MAC, the museum itself is not that interesting. 

These are the places I've visited in my trip to Rio last year. I'll go back there this year to attend to Rock in Rio. I hope to visit places like Leblon, Lagoa and Ipanema which I haven't been to yet.

São Paulo:

First of all, São Paulo is this vibrant and caotic metropolis where you can find the best and worst of anything. It's a huge city, so you can't hang around by foot as much as Rio but the city has a decent subway system.

- Paulista Avenue: the main commercial center of South America, you'll see many modernist highrises and the iconic MASP (Sao Paulo museum of art) designed by Lina Bo Bardi. 

- Higienópolis: located near Paulista Avenue, Higienópolis is a very sophisticated and traditional neighborhood with lots of restaurants, bars and some of the most beautiful modernist residential buildings of the city, designed by famous architects like Vila Nova Artigas and Atacho Jurado. 

- Jardins: luxury shopping spot. Take a walk in Oscar Freire street, you'll see many luxury stores designed by famous architects and also lots of good looking people. 

- Vila Madalena: a bohemian neighborhood with many bars, nightclubs and street art.

- Ibirapuera Park: huge park with Museums, Niemeyer and beautiful landscapes.

- Centro: downtown Sao Paulo has a lots of historic buildings including Niemeyer's COPAN this huge curved concrete highrise. You can go up there for free and see the city from the top. Also take a walk at Vale do Anhangabaú, a huge esplanade where you can see neoclassic buildings alongside modernist highrises. 

- Luz: this is an old industrial district where you can find da Mendes's Pinacoteca museum, Museu da Língua Portuguesa and Sala São Paulo (concert hall). It's not the safest place of the city, so I suggest you take a cab and go straight to those places.

There's lots of things to see in São Paulo, but you really have to do some research. The city is huge and the attractions are not concentrated in one region like in Rio plus you can get stuck for hours in traffic.




Jun 25, 11 10:15 pm

PS: You can add me on facebook if you want more suggestions. I have some friends in Rio and São Paulo who could help you too.

Jun 25, 11 10:17 pm

OMG why does all the cool architecture always happen in places that are *not* the US?!?!  That Triptique website is so cool.


Jun 25, 11 11:07 pm

SAO PAULO + RIO !  I like one day I will go there.

Jun 25, 11 11:48 pm

OMG why does all the cool architecture always happen in places that are *not* the US?!?! 

Unfortunately the US is no longer number 1 in most things, but the general perception of the public has not caught up to that fact. 




Jun 26, 11 1:18 pm


My favorite building is the library at rua vergueiro 1000 (centro cultural sao paulo) from the architects Luiz B. C. Telles and Eurico Prado. You can get your books and fun exercise at the same time. Beautiful structure with lots of ramps, I think the building is from 1975.

For Rio Santa Tereza,

Jun 27, 11 2:57 pm

...ah and in Sao Paulo the subway is pretty nice and clean, if you plan your day well you can visit few places during your day.

Jun 27, 11 3:06 pm


Jun 28, 11 2:39 am

Nice drawings jjr. Just to celebrate the trip, we can put cachaça on the label of that bottle and make some caipirinhas.

Jun 28, 11 8:56 am

Be sure to hop on the bonde (pronounced boned-gee) for an unforgettable ride.


Jun 28, 11 6:18 pm

Hi -- What a great adventure you’re on!

I’m an American architect and I’ve been living and working in Brazil for the last few years with my Braizlian wife, who’s an architect and professor here.  I recommend two things in Sao Paulo to get a sense of Brazilian architecture:

Museum of Brazilian Sculpture – MUBE
Paulo Mendes da Rocha - Architect
Roberto Burle Marx – Landscape Architect

University of São Paulo - College of Architecture and Urbanism

What I recommend was not completed yesterday, it’s not manicured, and it’s impossible for pictures to do them justice.  They make a powerful impression, they’re nothing like the US, and they give you a strong sense of what is fundamental to design here in Brazil.

Oscar Niemeyer?  Look at all the images in books and online.  I recommend not visiting them.  I’m sorry, Brazil, you have so many other heroes more deserving.

Check out images of all kinds of buildings before you go.  You’ve traveled, right?  It’s hard to get the spirit of a place, and Brazil is not simple place to get a grasp on.  Below is a list of the websites of a variety of contemporary firms.  And feel free to contact me with questions if you want to, I live down south in Porto Alegre – near your eccentric Uruguayan.
Grupo SP (Alvaro Puntoni)
JDS (Belo Horizonte)

Watch out for this: the oblong concrete box with one long wall missing.  Or both.  50% of all Brazilian architecture you see in magazines today fits this description. Once you begin to recognize the form, you can separate the genius from the redundancy.

Let us know how it turns out and what you write about:


Jul 6, 11 10:49 pm

I just did a blog about some of the architecture in Sao Paulo, its a little personal but I have seen most of it in Sao Paulo and can advise you on other things to see?

Aug 3, 11 10:04 pm

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