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Higienópolis: did you say ‘modernist'?

art & culture

If you are interested in architecture, you will appreciate this neighbourhood, which has an incredible concentration of modernist buildings.

Though Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio, and he invented Brasilia, the fact remains that in the city of a thousand skyscrapers, modernist architecture is present, notably in Higienópolis. Higienópolis?

It's a funny name for one of the most exclusive neighbourhoods of São Paulo. It comes from the fact that the villas were the first to be equipped with all the modern comforts. Besides a nascent Portuguese bourgeoisie that emerged from coffee cultivation, who came to settle in the city, it was also inhabited by immigrant Jewish families from Eastern Europe, who have left their cultural imprint.

In the 1950s, most of the houses were destroyed to make way for buildings of the middle class. There are, therefore, an incredible number of modernist buildings concentrated in a reduced area. Among the most emblematic: do not miss the Lausanne by Franz Heep, the Louvieva by Vilanova Artigas, who was the first to use colour on a facade, thus initiating the modern tropical style, and especially the Bretagne by João Artacho Jurado. It has a pool, a music room, a bar, a playground, and a garden on the roof. Everything has remained as it was, so try to arrange a visit with one of the occupants. You will not see such a 1950s wonder anywhere else.

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