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Music and Drama Conservatory

Brasil Arquitetura | Marcos Cartum

Music and Drama Conservatory
By Caterina Testa -

Most cities have segments that have been designed to fill an original open space. The result is an articulated complex of built volumes, visible from afar, their perspectives from all angles a carefully chosen planning decision. Other quarters get built by addition. They have to mould and bend to accommodate site and restrictions that are not only physical, but also social and economic. Constraints and limitations are at the heart of all such development programmes, the frame within which choices must be made, the very essence of what makes their architecture unique.
 The extension and renovation of Praça das Artes, São Paulo’s Music and Drama Conservatory, belongs to the second type of building project. It has had to carve itself out a place among the crowded jumble of downtown São Paulo and broker a compromise between its brief and the physical limits of the allocated space. Located in one of the more seedy quarters of the old city, the project also had the task of triggering urban regeneration.
The restored and renovated Conservatory and foyer of the Cairo Cinema building have now become the anchor point of a wider programme of spaces for art, dance, theatre and music flanked by restaurants, underground parking and community spaces.
Developing from the centre outwards over its city block, the different appendices of the new programme face in three directions towards Rua Formosa, Avenida São Paulo, and Rua Conselheiro Crispiniano.
Solids and voids alternate to create a series of inner courts with covered ground-level and overhead walkways. The result is a wholly permeable area stretching from the street access points to the centre hub.
Coloured concrete walls pierced only by a series of small, almost randomly arrayed windows give a unifying consistency to the new volumes - a single unit that has wedged its way into the available space.
The brutal simplicity of concrete and the stark linearity...

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