The old Sao Paulo is surrounded. The ‘vila’ houses are still evident in side-streets, dwarfed by the towers of offices and apartments. They command a premium price, although fears about their security also feature.

Rua Irmao Lucas

On the busy thoroughfare of Avenida Faria Lima, office blocks jostle with shopping centres. Begun in the late 1960s, Faria Lima was built at the expense of older residential districts (even more so than Avenida Paulista in the CBD). It is a showcase of Brasilian architecture of the era.

Parking station (estacionamento) on Avenida Reboucas, near Faria Lima

The Brasilian habit of vertical gardening softens the occasional outline …

Planting, Faria Lima

… though other ways to disguise the ferro-concrete box include tile work …

Tile facing, Faria Lima

… concrete mouldings …

Window frames, Faria Lima

… coloured window film …

Angled casements, Faria Lima

… or perhaps something unintentional. Landlords may stop their tenants from installing outside air conditioning units.

Individual air conditioning, Faria Lima

There’s an occasional homage to early US skyscrapers …

Retro-styled block, Faria Lima

… but only the sleekest, chic-est towers depart from the plain rectangular. (More on Ruy Ohtake at

Torres Pedroso de Moraes & Faria Lima. Brasilan architect Ruy Ohtake for Aché Pharma

The tower blocks advance steadily on low-rise housing.

View from top floor, Shopping Eldorado, Avenida Reboucas …

As night falls, darkness and lighting soften their outlines.

… “um vista cartão postal” according to the waiter …

The lights of passing cars, aeroplanes and helicopters animate the scene.

… at Hiro Restaurante Japonês; recommended.

The hum and roar of traffic plays a low continuo for the city, never completely asleep.

Estacionamento, Avenida Reboucas, by night