The Torre Pedroso de Moraes and the Torre Faria Lima in the business district along the Avenida Faria Lima in Sao Paulo are a pair of landmarks. Developed for Brazilian company Aché Pharma, Faria Lima stand head and shoulders above the surrounding mixed-use buildings, while Pedroso de Moraes provides a tongue-in-cheek foil. The high tower is iconic near and far.
Pedroso de Moraes was built first, and is known locally as the ‘Palácio da Carambola’ for its star-fruit-shaped supports.
The inverted ziggurat of Pedroso de Moraes is a kind of anti-tower, its sharp edges and broad-shouldered shape a riposte to the sleek areodynamics above.
Yet they interact harmoniously, the high-gloss finish serving to unite as well as to reflect.
A familiar sight when glimpsed in traffic, Faria Lima surprises with its scale in close-up.
The distinctive entrance to the tower’s gallery and theatre is playful compared with its business-like access on Pedroso de Moraes.
The Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake entrance gives the colours of its tower a playful shake, as if it were a handful of bunting ribbons. (Tomie Ohtake is a Brazilian abstract painter and the mother of the architect, Ruy Ohtake.)
The interior foyers are a series of long low spaces built with more of the raw concrete and white steel bracing used for the exterior. Exhibition spaces are the familiar white cuboids, pleasantly high-ceilinged.
There were photographic exhibitions on when I visited, both international and Brazilian, including photographs of Brazilian architecture, a fitting subject for such a well-known edifice.
One suspects that when Aché Pharma, recently the subject of bid speculation, becomes as obscure a name as Pedroso de Moraes – a Brazilian pioneer bandeirante known as “Terror dos Indios” – the tower for which they funded the development will still be known by the name of its architect.