17 March 2009

A school of architecture will always be a school of architecture

Approaching Faculdade de Arquitetura e urbanismo (FAU) I found a peacefully placed block of concrete in the midst of trees. It reminded me of my own home school of architecture in Norway, Bergen School of Architecture (BAS), which is also a big block of concrete, however vertical. The mild climate allows a fully open structure into the interior, and only auditoriums have walls and doors, not to keep warm or cool, but for acoustic reasons.

The first days of school was nothing but carnival performed by the fresh students. Samba drums were played, body paint distributed and sleeping in the halls after singing and dancing.

FAU has four floors connected by wide ramps where students circulate. On the bottom level is a large auditorium and some offices, and the ceiling is penetrated by bright daylight. The middle of FAU is a large space filled with the immensity of just air.

The main floor is used for multiple purposes that require space, like an exhibition. Just now there's an exhibition of Brazilian projects that has received recognition from FAU.

First year students cleared the exhibition for a couple of days during their nude studies. A cultural difference from Norway, where nude studies would be performed in a closed space in respect of the models. There generally seams to be much less sexual taboos in Brazil than most places I have been.

Overlooking the main floor comes the library, the diner, print shops, offices and computer labs. On top are the five open studios and finally a corridor of the many smaller auditoriums.

The rough interior of FAU allows for messages to be written with chalk on the walls concerning changes of location and such.

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