FAU’s heritage consists on tangible and intangible properties. The buildings are certainly among the first, but nevertheless they don’t leave the strong connection with the intangible side, represented by the cultural heritage that they settle. In a chronological order, first comes “Vila Penteado” building at the Maranhão street, 88 in Higienópolis, São Paulo. It has a palace style, built in the early twentieth century as the residence of Commander Antonio’s Alvares Penteado family, powerful coffee farmer engaged in São Paulo’ industrialization.
“Vila Penteado” was donated to São Paulo University in the late 1930s, with the specific purpose of hosting an Architecture School. As the project, the building, projected by the architect Carlos Ekmam, was considered as a work of art. The School of Architecture and Urbanism installed the undergraduate course in this building in 1950 and remained there until 1969, when it started to be installed at the campus of Cidade Universitária. From 1971 the Vila Penteado building housed the preparatives to set up the posgraduate course, which occurred in 1972. The building has been subject of care for its preservation and restoration, especially the recent renovation of the library’s premises. This process has represented unique opportunity for learning the techniques of restoration and development of related research conducted by the FAU own and other units of the USP.
Following in chronological description, the facilities at FAU in Cidade Universitária were worked over important changes incorporated in the undergraduate course at FAU by the reforms of 1962 and 1968. Mainly related to the formal incorporation of content related to architecture and urbanism, including visual communication, industrial design and landscaping, previously covered only by individual motivation of interested teachers in the scope of other disciplines. Thus, the main building constructed on the campus, designed by the architect and professor João Batista Vilanova Artigas, went to absorb not only the activities previously existing but widened to a close relationship between theory and practice in different stages and scales of the creative process The building, designed with functional areas around a large space (the “Caramel Hall”, the seat of civic and cultural events), received great distinction of recognition on the part of Brazilian society, as evidenced by its tipping since 1982 and the CONDEPHAAT COMPRESP.
It was also worthy of Jean Tshuma Award of the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1985 for his contribution to the technological development of architecture. With the growth of academic work, it became necessary to expand the space necessary for the teaching support services, with this purpose, the building known as “Annex” was built, and projected by architect and Professor Gian Carlo Gasperini, winner of an internal competition promoted by FAU. The building that houses the models’ workshop (LAME), the photo lab and the graphical programming lab, composes externally with the gauntry of experimental construction, housed under a tensioned cover designed by Architect and Professor Reginald Ronconi. Completing the built heritage of FAU, the sculpture atelier Caetano Fracarolli is integrated in the vicinity of City Hall Campus of University City.
In an intermediate position between the tangible and intangible, is located the College Libraryis located, one of the largest in the country relating to architecture, urbanism and visual arts, which in addition to supporting academic research through literature surveys, establishes and publishes, from 1950 the Index of Brazilian architecture. Like any collection of FAU, the index of Brazilian architecture supports research work not only of his own unit, but of many others, in the USP and beyond.
The Library has a collection of original architectural projects, rare books, frequently enriched by donations of Brazilian architects and their families, making it the most important documentation center of Brazilian architecture in the world. It is also the depository of the students’ works, many highlighted among their peers, since the first class graduated in 1952 (some still active) until the present day, designing and constructing buildings, ordering of cities, industrial design, visual communication or landscaping. From this collection emerge around 1200 theses and dissertations and more than 5000 records of productions of this Unit’s teachers. Beyond the Library, the support of academic activities of FAU is supplied by the following specialized services, some of them located in the main building and others in the annex building:
- Laboratory of Data – Section of digital bases production to Architecture and Urban Planning – CESAD,that provide databases of digital information and archives of news related to architecture and planning in support of various academic works developed at FAU;
- Laboratory of Models and Tests – LAME,that includes workshops of models, carpentry, mechanical and painting for the realization of prototypes, models and mockup;
- Laboratory of Graphics Computer – LCG, name given to the facilities of informational support to teaching and research, first devoted to applications of computer graphics and now covers a huge variety of features and information applications related to the education and research of architecture and urbanism;
- Laboratory of Graphical Programming – LPG, initially composed of a printing workshop, now includes comprehensive systems of publishing, composition and experimentation with different graphics technologies and responsible for numerous publications of FAU, including its four periodics, and from other USP Units;
- Laboratory of Audiovisual Aids: Photography – FOTOFAU, originated in the needs of photographs architectural works, now includes training in digital photography and digital image processing;
- Laboratory of Audiovisual Aids: Video – VIDEOFAU, focusing on production of documentaries and didactic material to support the interests of architecture and urbanism, including documentation of the architectural heritage of cultural value and innovative construction sites.
The FAU buildings comprise a harmonious set of tangible and intangible heritage, understandable only when viewed in its entirety. The conservation, restoration, and continuous functional updated function are therefore a complex work, worth of consideration by a Board of Trustees and an Executive Group Management of the Physical Space of high-level, consisting of teachers and not teachers servers, committed with the integrity of the physical and cultural heritage that they are responsible.