Dialogues Between Architecture and Context: Getting to Know the Work of Brasil Arquitetura

A country’s name on an office identity is the best way to represent it. Brasil Arquitetura examines the architecture of Brazil to highlight aspects of Brazilian culture.

The current Sao Paulo office is led by Marcelo Ferraz and Francisco Fanucci, who are Minas Gerais’ founding partners. It was established in 1979. The firm was founded by former colleagues at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of University of Sao Paulo (FAUUSP) and Marcelo Suzuki, who was a partner until 1995. They incorporated their respective trajectories into the firm that were marked from the beginning by the military dictatorship. This was in effect in the 60’s and 70’s, when Marcelo Suzuki was still in high school. This was the time when much of Brazil’s humanist spirit emerged, as reflected in the Brasil Arquitetura project.

The close relationship Marcelo Ferraz formed with Lina Bo Bardi, an architect, is another milestone in the group’s history. Marcelo worked as an intern on the Sesc Pompeia (1977) project and then, upon completing his graduation, continued to work on the construction site. He became Lina’s principal collaborator until her death in 1999. They shared many of the most famous projects of the architect, including the competitions to redevelop Vale do Anhangabau (1981), and the Brazilian Pavilion in the Universal Exhibition of Seville (91), both with Fanucci’s collaboration, as well as the project to the Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo (1982) or the revitalization of Salvador’s Historic Center (1986-1990).

Lina’s experience of living with Lina was essential to the establishment of the office’s identity. It is easy to see Lina’s appreciation for the anthropological perspective in many of her projects, particularly when it comes down to architectural heritage. Brasil Arquitetura continues to be influenced by Lina’s keen eye for design, new uses of traditional materials, and the country’s culture.

Museu Rodin Bahia / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

The firm’s recent recognition has been for its interventions in pre-existing buildings. These guidelines can be seen as important guidelines for the office’s work. They include “the ability to see the past and the present” to seek the new/existing relationship in implementation; the “anthropological view” that is analysed in the architectural program, and the “technical precision” with which the building system was designed.

The firm’s projects are always respectful and in dialogue with local cultures, even if they reach different parts of the country or the world. According to the architects, their architecture is built on deep connections with each locale’s cultural foundations and the people who live there. They are self-described cannibals who eat intellectual, spiritual, and poetic food to fuel their ideas.

Audrey Anticoli, researcher, says that Brasil Arquitetura projects share six key points. These include design policy practice, communication across contexts (physical, socio, economic), discernment in treating every project as an individual; responsibility in ethics with regard to the consequences of their propositions; substantiality in concern with materiality/fundamental; Brazilianness in the sense that it desires to link the office’s production to a truly Brazilian essence.

Marcenaria Barauna was also established by the partners. It is a name that refers to the traditional tree found in the northeast and north of the country. The architects created a space for experimentation through carpentry with many wooden furniture of unique design.

Brasil Arquitetura’s trajectory has seen it win national and international awards. It has also designed in other parts of the globe, but its roots are still in Brazil, the country that gave its name.

Below is a selection from Brasil Arquitetura.

Instituto Socioambiental – ISA / Brasil Arquitetura

Instituto Socioambiental – ISA / Brasil Arquitetura. © Daniel Ducci
Instituto Socioambiental – ISA / Brasil Arquitetura. © Daniel Ducci

Bahia Rodin Museum / Brasil Arquitetura

Museu Rodin Bahia / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon
Museu Rodin Bahia / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

Pepiguari House / Brasil Arquitetura

Casa Pepiguari / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon
Casa Pepiguari / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

Cais do Sertão Museum / Brasil Arquitetura

Museu Cais do Sertão / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon
Museu Cais do Sertão / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

Praça das Artes / Brasil Arquitetura

Praça das Artes / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon
Praça das Artes / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

Bread Museum / Brasil Arquitetura

Museu do Pão / Brasil Arquitetura. Museu do Pão / Brasil Arquitetura
Museu do Pão / Brasil Arquitetura. Museu do Pão / Brasil Arquitetura

Dom Viçoso House / Brasil Arquitetura

Casa Dom Viçoso / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon
Casa Dom Viçoso / Brasil Arquitetura. © Nelson Kon

Fachinetto Ceramic Museum / Brasil Arquitetura

Museu do Tijolo / Brasil Arquitetura. © Brasil Arquitetura
Museu do Tijolo / Brasil Arquitetura. © Brasil Arquitetura

Lagoa House / Brasil Arquitetura

Casa da Lagoa / Brasil Arquitetura. © Eduardo Beltrame
Casa da Lagoa / Brasil Arquitetura. © Eduardo Beltrame

Montemor House / Brasil Arquitetura

Casa Montemor / Brasil Arquitetura. © Manuel Sá
Casa Montemor / Brasil Arquitetura. © Manuel Sá