“At one time, Brazilian architecture was dominated by hybrids of classic European forms. Then came Modernism, which started with Niemeyer and the realization of his Pampulha neighborhood in Belo Horizonte in the 1940s.
By the middle of the 1960s, especially in São Paulo, Modernism had become very radical. Architects were able to impose their concepts on clients, which produced our rich architectural heritage. Designers managed to realize their ideas, but they produced houses that were cold and unattractive to live in. Houses made of concrete at a time when, here, we had no heating or air-conditioning meant homes that were cold in winter and hot in summer. There were houses without windows, ones with floors made of concrete. These are hugely interesting projects but not spaces for living in. They were extremely uncomfortable.
The children of the families that lived in these houses developed an aversion to Modernist architecture. Twenty years ago you heard people saying they would never live in a Modernist home because their parents had lived in one. So, up until a decade ago, residential architecture in cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro—but especially São Paulo—was dominated by a Neoclassical architecture that was horrible. Apartment buildings were made up of a mixture of styles, to give the impression of luxury. In reality, these buildings were not good quality. They were extremely cheap to construct—with small windows and facades done in concrete—but designed to look luxurious.
But trends shift. Since the year 2000, the tendency of the younger population, say, a buyer around 35 years old, is to purchase an apartment with a more modern design. Because of this demand, the construction companies began to seek out architects who work in this language. Our studio has been hired by firms to design such buildings. They are contemporary Modernist residential buildings. These things are cyclical, and this is where the cycle finds itself at the moment.”