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2018 MCHAP

IMS Paulista

Andrade Morettin Architects

São Paulo, Brazil

September 2017


Andrade Morettin Architects


José Luiz Canal (Construction and Project Management) Ycon Engenharia (Structural Engineer) G.O.P. (Structural Engineer) Moretti Engenharia Consultiva (Foundation Engineer) LZA Engenharia (Eletrical Engineer, Fire and Safety) Front Inc. (Façade) Grupo Galtier (Façade) Greenwatt climatização (Air Conditioning) GPIC (Fire and Safety, Automation, telecommunication and audiovisual) Urben Arquitetura (Law Consultant) Peter Gasper & Associados (Lighting Consultant) Lux Projetos (Lighting Consultant) PROASSP Project Management and Consulting (Waterproofing) Empro Comércio e Engenharia em Transporte Vertical (Vertical Transport) Quadradão programação (Visual Programming) Walderez Nogueira Soluções Gastronômicas (Restaurant and Coffee) Harmonia Acústica Akkerman, Holtz (Acoustics) All’e Engenharia construção (Construction)


Instituto Moreira Salles


Nelson Kon


The main concept was to transfer the ground floor of the museum from the bottom to the center of the building, fifteen meters above the level of Paulista Avenue, creating an entirely new open relationship between the museum, the city and its inhabitants. From the elevated ground floor, the perception that the visitor has of the program spaces is straightforward and clear. The ground floor was transformed into a gathering and distribution plaza, which also has a cafe and shop; above the plaza, hovering over it, the exhibit spaces are protected in a closed volume; below it, the Media Library programs are grouped as a large meeting space dedicated to movies, music, literature and, more generally, to research and knowledge production. The spatiality of the museum is perceived and given mainly from the voids of the edifice, which are the spaces of circulation and meeting that spread between the program volumes and the façade of the building. The materiality of the facade - made with a self-supporting translucent glass - creates a quiet, cozy space. Likewise, the light that infilters these spaces carries with it the trail of the city, bringing into the museum the memory of the world that lies around it. Translucent glass as a second skin allows the museum to be perceived as a well-defined and whole volume, with the necessary force to confirm its position among its neighbors and other buildings on Paulista Avenue.


The Moreira Salles Institute is a consolidated institution with strong presence in the cultural scene in Brazil. Despite holding a precious collection and experience in the promotion of exhibits and cultural events, IMS didn’t have, until now, an exhibit space consistent with its possibilities in Sao Paulo. The new headquarters meets the concrete need for more space, but certainly is much more than that: above all it arises from the desire to create a place that can represent the values and transmit the spirit of the institution. The new headquarters of IMS was designed for the programmatic and symbolic needs of the Institute. We devised an accessible museum, anchored in the present day, which offers a frank and direct relationship with the city, while simultaneously providing a warm, tranquil internal setting; a museum able to balance the excitement of the sidewalks with the scale and nature of museological spaces; an environment with precise and peculiar top-quality lighting and time perception; finally, a museum able to provide a unique, subjective experience to visitors. To combine all these qualities, we interpreted and analyze two essential parameters for the design concept: its building program and its urban context. In addition to the complex functional demands, what mattered here was to define the desired attributes and the connections for the inside spaces, and to outline the kind of relationship we would like to establish between the new building and the city.


The IMS Paulista, after five months of its inauguration, has become a significant element to Sao Paulo's cultural agenda. Located on Paulista Avenue, one of the most vibrant and important gathering spaces of the metropolis, the Institute has received over 200.000 visitors during its first two months of activity. The strategy of creating a museum frankly opened to the street, with free access and fluid circulation has contributed to the widespread public acceptance of the project. The escalator welcomes the visitors from the sidewalk and leads the flow throughout seventeen meters in height to encounter the meeting place - the museum hall - in the building's gravity center. This elevated square opens itself to the city as a great balcony with an unique perspective of the metropolitan scenario. From the square, all the visitation circuits start and end; the visitors can that a break for coffee or visit the bookstore: it is the museum's vertical circulation platform with its open staircase and elevator sets. The desire, in the design phase, that this space would be the focal point of the museum - as well as its piece of connection with the city - was fulfilled. The large number of visitors that are distributed every day in the various spaces of the great hall attests the vitality of this elevated square. The activities spaces of the IMS, such as exhibition halls, auditorium/cinema, library, and classroom, have been fully occupied. The spatial solutions and the provision of infrastructure, especially detailed for each of them, contributed greatly to the implementation of the Institute's wide activities agenda.

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