Brazilian Architecture Genius Paulo Mendes da Rocha Has Died

Paulistano Athletic Club Gymnasium (1961)

Created in collaboration with João de Gennaro, the gymnasium at the club located in the Jardins area of São Paulo has a particularly striking roof, supported by six exposed concrete pillars arranged in a circle. The roof has a diameter of more than 12.5 meters.


House in Butantã (1964)

Designed as a home for Paulo Mendes da Rocha and his sister, the house in Butantã, São Paulo, is actually two homes with an almost identical layout and structure. Each building comprises a single floor elevated by four pillars. With few divisions and no windows in the bedrooms, they were designed to face inwards.


Guaimbê Building (1965)

Located on Rua Haddock Lobo in São Paulo, the Guaimbê Building has an exposed concrete façade and no gate to separate it from the pavement. The sides of the building feature brise-soleil, allowing light to enter while protecting residents’ privacy. Inside, there are no corridors, and the walls curve to separate the different areas.


Serra Dourada Stadium (1975)

The Serra Dourada Stadium can hold 50,000 spectators. The overhanging roof is the most striking element of the design, and there are two large gardens inside the stadium. Round pillars create huge openings that give a sense of levity, simplicity, and symmetry to the project, which blends effectively into the surrounding landscape.


Brazilian Museum of Sculpture (MuBE) (1986)

One of the most important projects in Mendes da Rocha’s career, MuBE in São Paulo is built around an immense beam running perpendicular to the main road to create a 60-meter free span. The exhibition areas are located below street level, bringing silence and creating a cozy atmosphere for contemplation. The museum is an architectural sculpture in itself and is enhanced still further by the garden designed by Burle Marx that surrounds it.


São Pedro Apóstolo Chapel (1987)

The clean, clear architecture of this chapel in Campos do Jordão exemplifies the principal characteristics of Mendes da Rocha’s body of work. With an exposed concrete structure and glass walls, the public can look out over the region’s lush landscape. In the midst of this magical setting, the chapel’s glass framework reflects the sky, people, and surroundings, creating confusion between what is outside and what is in. The nave is mirrored by a reflecting pool, where the baptistry is located. A single pillar supports the nave, choir, and roof.


Renovation of the State Museum of São Paulo (1988)

Originally designed by Ramos de Azevedo in 1805, the building housing the State Museum was renovated in the 1990s following plans designed by Mendes da Rocha. The building needed modernizing and a more functional infrastructure was required. To this end, an elevator was installed to transport materials and people, new bathrooms were built and the storage and exhibition areas were extended. The restoration laboratory, library, and electricity network were also modernized. The interior courtyards were covered with metal and laminated glass structures supported by the masonry. This protected the courtyards from the rain and made it possible to use them for exhibitions.


Gerassi House (1989)

For this project in São Paulo, Mendes da Rocha drew on an innovative construction method that was rarely seen at that time: a prefabricated system more commonly seen in public buildings. The upper volume, which houses the rooms, is supported by pillars to create a 15-meter void for the garage. Inside, the spaces are fluid, encouraging greater interaction between family members. There is abundant natural light and ventilation due to the ample openings on the side walls and floor.


Roof for the Prestes Maia Gallery, Praça do Patriarca (2002)

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