Focus on Brazil: The School of Architecture and Urbanism


Constructed between 1966 and 1969, Artigas and Cascaldi’s School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo (Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo – FAU / USP) was built at the same time as Lina Bo Bardi’s Art Museum of São Paulo, featured last week. In contrast to the tropical International Style of the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) tradition, the MASP and FAU /USP projects exemplify the Paulista (São Paulo) school of architecture, characterized by exposed concrete and raw stereotomic articulations typical of Brutalist architecture.

In addition to serving as the project architect, Vilanova Artigas was the director of FAU in the early 1960s. The FAU can be considered the physical expression of Artigas’ pedagogical project, which conceived of the architecture school as a laboratory through which a student’s professional development would derive from a free intermingling of the arts, humanities, and technology. The FAU does not have a front door, and passage from outside to inside is fluid, demarcated only by a massive roof structure supported by double trapezoid pilotis. Gardens flow underneath the roof line, and the exterior sidewalk transitions into an interior ramp, off of which unfold various programs including studios, a library, classrooms, wood shop and central Caramelo Salon – an indoor plaza for gatherings and reviews.  Still today, the interrelationships between diverse disciplines and forms united beneath the roof and permeability between the school and the world outside reflect FAU’s pedagogical statement, which asserts that the purpose of architecture school is to prepare professionals to examine what FAU considers to be the most critical urban questions: social housing, the interaction between city, landscape, and environment and the preservation and restoration of the historical built environment.

Find images of this project by searching the VRC’s online image collection using the search terms “School of Architecture and Urbanism” in the Subject field.

Photograph by Kristine Stiphany, courtesy of the UTSOA Visual Resources Collection