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2016 MCHAP

Restoration of the IAB-SP Building

Silvio Oksman

São Paulo, Brazil

July 2015


Silvio Oksman


Beatriz Helena Vicino dos Santos (Team Architect) Marjorie Nasser Prandini (Team Architecture Intern) Samira Bueno Chahin (Team Architect) Bárbara Correia de Paula Fernandes (Team Architecture Intern) Laura Cardoso Camargo Pinto (Team Architecture Intern)


Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil - Departamento de São Paulo


Rafael Patrick Schimidt Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil


Before the project starts, a research was made on the original projects of architecture, structure, water and electric instalations. This research revealed the principles that have oriented the original project. This restoration project never intent to recreate an original situation, but the research was essencial to define contemporary interventions. The careful removal of coatings allowed the comprehension of many interventions the building suffered that had no register. This research also sustained the decisions towards the finishing materials and colors. Since 2010 there was an assumption that the overhanging shelf might be suffering a structural collapse, therefore it was propped. In 2014 prospections and measurements were made to evaluate its structural conditions. The topographic assesments presented variations that were considered within the normal parameters for this structure. The prospections revealed the existence of exposed and oxidated iron hardware without compromising its section and structural performance. All the finishings, sealing and filling material were removed. The iron hardware and the concrete treated so that the slab could be filled with light material and the new finishings executed. The rainwater capture was conceived from three original planters implanted over the shelf, collecting the water and conecting to the cast iron piping concreted inside the pillars. In a previous remodel these planters were filled with waste. The current project recover the original rainwater capture system. However the planters won't be renovated, there is an elevated floor implanted over them, so that the water can be collected through the floor.


One of the first modern buildings in São Paulo, it was designed in 1946 by a team of architects leaded by Rino Levi. Winner of a national competition that had Oscar Niemeyer, Eduardo Kneese de Mello, Hélio Uchoa e Firminio Saldanha as the jury, it was inaugurated in 1953. This building clearly represented the cultural effervescence on the 60's, concentrating a great part of the avantgarde artists and discussions on the underground floor, the "Clube dos Artistas". It was one of the victims of the deterioration process in downtown São Paulo during the 70's. Restoring this modern building is representative for the current requalification happening in downtown São Paulo. It has always been an important location for architectural discussions and cultural production, and recognized as a cultural heritage by the state in 2002. It's a 9 storey construction, built in reinforced concrete. The underground, groundfloor, restaurant and mezanine are part of the headquarter of the IAB-SP (Brazilian Institute of Achitects – São Paulo Department). Several architectural offices are located in the upper floors. It has a significant overhanging shelf that lays over the sidewalk. It held no maintainance in the last 30 years and it presented several problems concerning structure and infrastructure. The main proposal of the project is the restauration of the building according to the contemporary recomendation for cultural heritage and also respecting the current security regulamentation and the technical requirements.


The IAB-SP headquarters was responsible for countless cultural activities since its opening. On its surroundings several architects established their offices, generating an intense cultural dynamic on the area. The building suffered with the deterioration of downtown São Paulo, even though its activities and some architecture offices were maintained in the building, the area was abandoned. On the beginning of the 2000’s there is a resumption of the central area. Modern buildings on the region, such as Copan (Oscar Niemeyer), Esther (Vital Brasil) and Italia (Franz Heep) were back on its full occupation and being restored. The IAB-SP building is an important part of this process. A new architecture school (Escola da Cidade) and a vast number of new architecture offices were inaugurated on the environs, starting a renewed architectural and cultural cluster around it. The removal of the propping, liberating the sidewalk and the inauguration of a specialized bookstore and cafe on the ground floor, were extremely important to improving the region, and celebrated by all the architectural community.

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