Intense research and over a hundred hours of talks with Paulo Mendes da Rocha form the material of this rewriting of the São Paulo architect’s trajectory. Illustrated with original plans, it conveys the thrill of one who finds, studies, and stores largely unpublished drawings. Besides the milestones of Mendes da Rocha’s career, the book presents little known themes, such as the period preceding the Paulistano Athletics Club Gymnasium, or projects heretofore unpublished.
The monograph thus throws light on the context of the works, and the traditional way of doing things, of this architect who to this day designs with white chalk on a blackboard. Even with such loyalty to tools and convictions, however, each work addresses the requirements of the moment, as the Italian architect and critic Franceso Dal Co explains in the opening article.
Organized in seven chapters, the main text interlaces works, reflections, and references, framing them in their political and social contexts. In this way, his training years and the influence of the Paulista School accompany works like the above-mentioned gym or the Hockey Club of Goiás. In turn the consequences of the 1964 coup d’etat and the military dictatorship appear with the Brazilian Pavilion at Expo’70 in Osaka or the Serra Dourada Municipal Stadium in Goiânia, while the return to democracy accompanies the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture or the Forma Store. Finally, recent projects are followed by commissions in Lisbon and Vitoria that he earned after winning the Pritzker in 2006.