Traveling in architectural buildings around the world – 08/03/2023 – Josimar Melo

The death, on the 4th, of the cartoonist Paulo Caruso is sad. I met him when, at the age of 17, I entered the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at USP. I soon noticed (and how could I not notice??) the veteran twins, much older but full of joviality, wandering together through the generous space of the school: Chico and Paulo Caruso. Skinny, tall, long flowing hair like Disney’s Peninha.

Identical, it was easy for them to deceive the unwary. Once Paulo (or Chico) agreed to lend me a book; the next day, running into Chico (or Paulo) without realizing it was the other one, I charged him. Realizing the mistake, he scolded me (“Did you really think I would? That I would trust you?” etc.) – and it was a good few seconds of chatter before I realized the deception.

After college, there were several encounters at night, like at the Riviera bar, at the time a decent pigsty (which Paulo would portray in comic books).

Having Chico move to Rio, it became easier to identify them: when I visited the editorial office of the newspaper O Globo, I knew that the designer who was there was Chico; on several occasions on Roda Viva, on TV Cultura, it was Paulo (because that was how he signed the caricatures he made of me).

My memories of FAU take me back to that space where I met Paulo and so many people – and how that magnificent building stimulated our relationships and creativity. Those who didn’t study architecture might find it an exaggeration. But (referring to my previous column, about the Brazilian tourism logo) if mere centimeters of shape and color can say so much even about a project for the country, what about the space built in a shelter where people live, work, dream, love . Or, in a school, you study and project the future.

Completed in 1969, the FAU building, designed by architects Vilanova Artigas and Carlos Cascaldi, impressed me so much that I always imagined it as an object of pilgrimage, which visitors from all over should visit.

I myself, thanks to him, became a tourist from architecture schools. If a building can be a landmark, imagine a building where people learn to make other buildings.

I remember the curiosity of seeing the architecture school in Cambridge, England. But there the century-old faculty was nestled in the majestic pre-existing buildings (the university is eight centuries old!).

Many European colleges are in old buildings. But I sniffed out those designed with the specific function of teaching architecture. Artigas was one of the pioneers, with his brutalist concrete box gracefully supported by trapeze pillars delimiting a large square that unifies the entire school with its surroundings – and its occupants.

But others came. For example, the School of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology (from the Tham & Videgård office) in Stockholm (Sweden), a nave located between old brick buildings, which it steals color (with its dark steel) and a weight softened by glass panes . Also in Europe is Strasbourg, France (by Marc Mimram), embedded in the city with a transparent ground floor supporting contorted and stacked blocks.

In Coral Gables is the University of Miami (Arquitectonica office), a square covered by a graceful wavy blanket of concrete. And if, like me, you have relatives in Byron Bay (near Brisbaine, Australia), check out Abedian’s school (from CRAB Studio), with its airy transparency, both visually and thermally.

Or stay here in Brazil, visiting the faculty at Federal da Bahia (by Diógenes Rebouças), with brutalist traits integrated with open spaces and nature. And imagine yourself young, being provoked by these spaces.

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