São Paulo: A Graphic Biography Exhibition

São Paulo: A Graphic Biography Exhibition

University of Virginia School of Architecture

View of São Paulo: A Graphic Biography, Escola da Cidade, São Paulo, 2019. Photo: Simon Plestenjak.

August 21, 2019
São Paulo: A Graphic Biography Exhibition
August 15–November 15, 2019
Galeria da Cidade at Escola da Cidade
Rua General Jardim, 65.
São Paulo-

No other city in the world has had greater a concentration of inner-city post-industrial land as that of São Paulo. This unique urban situation demands attention and rewards analysis.

The University of Virginia School of Architecture and the Escola da Cidade announce the exhibition São Paulo: A Graphic Biography, on view at the Galeria da Cidade at Escola da Cidade in São Paulo until November 15. 

While the history of São Paulo dates back more than 450 years, most of its growth took place after World War II as the city’s major economic engine shifted from agriculture to industry. Today, as São Paulo evolves into a service economy hub, São Paulo: A Graphic Biography—curated by Felipe Correa, Sol Camacho, Devin Dobrowolski, and Anthony Averbeck in collaboration with Escola da Cidade—argues the city must carefully examine how to better integrate its extensive inner city post-industrial land into contemporary urban uses. The show presents a comprehensive portrait of Brazil’s largest city, narrating its fast-paced growth through archival material, photography, original drawings, and text. In doing so, the show brings to São Paulo a new reading of this exceptionally complex metropolis, suggesting new ways of envisioning its urban future.

São Paulo, which opened at the Galeria da Cidade (Escola da Cidade) on Thursday, August 15, builds on Correa’s book, which carries the same title, and is the first comprehensive study of São Paulo’s urban evolution and current forma urbis. The opening event, kickstarted by Correa’s lecture brought together a large and diverse audience including governmental officials and former São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad.

Beyond presenting the first history of Paulista urban form and carefully detailing the formative processes that gave shape to this manufacturing capital, São Paulo shows how the city can transform its post-industrial lands into a series of inner city mixed-use affordable housing districts. By reorienting how we think about these spaces, the exhibition and book offer a compelling vision of a much-needed urban restructuring that can help alleviate the extreme socioeconomic divide between city center and periphery. This twenty-first century urban blueprint presents a unique perspective on how cities can imagine their future.

The show is free and open to the public, and will remain on view until November 15.


São Paulo: A Graphic Biography was possible thanks to the generous support of the Haddad Foundation and the University of Virginia School of Architecture. 


A press kit with images and additional information on the Sao Paulo: A Graphic Biography Project can be found here.

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University of Virginia School of Architecture
August 21, 2019

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