Gothic architecture is aggressive, dark, tall and at times ominous. That wasn’t by accident, especially in the case of religious architecture. Cathedrals, churches and other religious buildings stood not only as places of worship and business, but as a monument to the religion they served. The spires on the tallest towers reach higher to the kingdom of heaven (if you’re into that sort of thing) and dwarf any worshiper who sets foot inside.
Despite the aggressive appearance and nature of these buildings, they were also designed to let in the light. Amidst the dark recesses of apses, vaulted ceilings and cloisters the stained glass windows let in light, illuminating the space. Huge bursts of color break through the otherwise dark and grim spaces to illuminate the building and in theory, the people inside.
Today we visited the Sao Paulo Cathedral, in the heart of Old Sao Paulo. The timing was perfect and as we exited, the sun began to lower, shooting beams through the stained glass windows—brightening the mosaics, reflecting on the floors and offering a bit of optimism to the many that come to pray. I tried my best to capture a few of the dark spots and present the cathedral in a more illuminated way.
I’m really letting my architecture freak flag fly here in Sao Paulo and I’m totally cool with that.
Sao Paulo by sunset. This place goes on forever on all sides, can’t stop won’t stop.
Neoclassical architecture, never not getting it done. I think the reason it becomes so popular with people is because in every country all over the world, it’s used as a statement by the civic body. It’s intimidating, but welcoming and is meant to impress whomever is exposed to it. Corinthian columns, sweeping archways, huge vaulted ceilings and a careful eye for symmetry can be found in almost every example. Here, the Museu Paulista da Universidade de Sao Paulo had a huge accompanying garden (full of skateboarders) which you often find attached to neoclassical buildings etc., no matter where you are. Creative expression it seems, is far more universal than language…which we’re all finding quickly because none of us can fluently speak Portugese.
Walked through Batman Alley in Sao Paulo yesterday. Graffiti and street art are entirely legal and encouraged here. Up and down the walls, garages and back lots of buildings are thousands of different tags, murals and messages.
Every Wednesday there’s a rap battle that goes down and while I can’t speak Portugese and can’t rap, I kinda wanna see what that’s all about. This is just one of many pieces we saw, prolly gonna drop a few as we make our way through the city this week.
One thing you can’t overlook in Sao Paulo is the youth culture. There are tons of kids in the streets, not in a disenfranchised youth kind of way, but in a convivial way. They all hang out, much like the kids do in Manhattan. There is a massive skateboarding culture here and you can easily spot a group of kids going from hill to hill, mostly on longboards. It’s nice to see them all sort of rally around something as opposed to getting in each other’s face about it.
Neoclassical architecture, never not getting it done.