This year’s FIFA World Cup tournament will take place in Brazil throughout the month of June. When you’re not enjoying one of the matches, you can stroll the streets of São Paolo and take in some of the most stunning modernist architecture in the world. Here are three must-see bastions of modernism in the bustling Brazilian capital.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Avenida Paulista, 1578, Bela Vista, São Paulo
One of the most famous examples of modernism in São Paolo is Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi’s Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP). MASP, the largest suspended structure in South America, is indicative of Bo Bardi’s architectural originality. Two inverted red beams support the entire building (which is a huge cement block punctuated by windows). Underneath is a public plaza where a farmer’s market, concerts and other events are held. Built in 1968, MASP continues to impress modernism aficionados around the world.
Avenida Ipiranga 200, Centro, São Paulo, 01066–900
The unforgettable Copan, designed by Oscar Niemeyer, is one of the most recognizable architectural structures in all of Brazil. The building’s “S” shape is a reference to curves found in nature – such as those of a sand dune or a wave. The massive Copan was built to house 1,160 apartments of diverse layouts, occupying six blocks (in 1966 it was even given its own zip code!). Today, it continues to serve as a residential building, in addition to being a major tourist attraction.
Avenida Ipiranga 344, Centro, São Paulo, 01046–010
Designed by German-born architect Franz Heep, Edifício Itália is a striking modernist skyscraper built in 1965. With 46 floors accessed by 14 elevators, for three years after it was built, Edifício Itália held the honor of being the highest concrete structure in the world. Today, tourists flock to the sumptuous rooftop restaurant that offers breathtaking views of the city and innovative cuisine.
Photo: Fernando Stankuns