João Vilanova Artigas (Curitiba 1915-São Paulo 1985) was a Brazilian architect, a maestro of the so-called 'São Paulo School' who at the end of the 1950s adopted reinforced concrete as an expressive constructional language. Basing himself on the technical possibilities of this material, he defined the volumetry of his buildings by means of daring structural concepts using huge spans. His projects and built works convey a wish to be exemplary and to contribute thereby to the country's technical and social development, an ambition typical of the city of São Paulo: the economic and industrial centre of Brazil, aloof from the hedonistic optimism of Río de Janeiro and its modern architecture, associated with Oscar Niemeyer.
For the first time outside of Brazil, 2G presents the widest selection of the work of this great architect, considered to be the key figure of the architecture created in São Paulo in the 1960s and 70s. An oeuvre defined by the meeting of poetic disquiet and constructional rigour, which has crossed the frontiers of Brazilian architecture in recent years thanks to the international dissemination of the work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha (1928).
João Vilanova Artigas's work, which spans five decades in all, is prolific and extensive. Unfortunately, much of this work is in a precarious state of preservation today. As a result, the most expressive group of works that are well-or reasonably well-preserved consists of single-family houses and apartment buildings. These we have chosen according to criteria of aesthetic and discursive importance, mainly from the so-called 'brutalist' phase, which is without doubt the architect's most personal and radical. Oustanding among these are the Louveira Building (1946-1949), Vilanova Artigas's second house (1949), the Baeta House (1956-1957), the Rubens de Mendonça House (1958-1959), the second Taques Bittencourt house (1959), the Ivo Viterito House (1962-1963), the Mendes André House (1966-1967), the Elza Berquó House (1967) and the Martirani House (1969-1974), all in São Paulo.
To this group we have added a few fundamental public buildings, like Guarulhos High School (1960-1962), the CECAP Zezinho Magalhães Prado housing complex (1967-1972), the bus stations in Londrina (1950-1952) and Jaú (1973-1975), and the building for the Faculty of Architecture and Planning of the Universidade de São Paulo (FAU-USP, 1961-1968), his masterpiece. Vilanova Artigas's political and architectural ideal was to build for the community, hence the fact that it was in the programme of public buildings that his philosophy encountered a more favourable and forceful area of exploration.
In nexus we present two texts written by the architect: 'Paths of modern architecture' (1952) and 'The false crisis' (1965). A combative Marxist thinker, in these writings Vilanova Artigas addresses two crucial moments in his career.
All the photographs that document the buildings have been specially taken for the magazine by Nelson Kon, various project designs have also been expressly redrawn.