20 July 2012

Altino Arantes Building

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Altino Arantes Building
General information
Location São Paulo, Brazil
Coordinates 23°32′45″S 46°38′02″WCoordinates: 23°32′45″S 46°38′02″W
Construction started 1939
Completed 1947
Roof 528 ft (161 m)[1]
Technical details
Floor count 36[2]
Design and construction
Architect Plinio Botelho do Amaral and Camargo & Mesquita

Street leading to the Banespa building.
The Altino Arantes Building also known as the Banespa Building, is an important skyscraper located in São Paulo, Brazil.



The building was constructed to be the headquarters of the Bank of the State of São Paulo (Banespa), between 1939 and 1947. It remained the tallest building of the city for two decades until surpassed by the Edifício Itália. Soon after its completion in the 1940s, it was named the world's largest structure of reinforced concrete. It was designed by Plínio Botelho do Amaral, who was inspired by the Empire State Building and Frank Lloyd Wright. Its panoramic view of the center of São Paulo and its outskirts attract thousands of visitors. In the future, the Altino Arantes building will become the headquarters of the Banespa Cultural Institute, facilitating artistic and cultural activities.
After its foundation in 1909, the Banespa underwent a period of substantial expansion and needed a larger headquarters. The first place chosen for such purpose was in the Square Ramos de Azevedo, a place distant from the São Paulo's banking district near the streets Is Bento and XV de Novembro. Determined to move to an area of more economic prominence, the bank made an agreement with the Santa Casa de Misericórdia to purchase a building that they would demolish to construct a new headquarters on João Brícola street. The project was held in the account of the engineer and architect Plinio Botelho do Amaral, but was adapted by the contracting firm Camargo & Mesquita, who wanted to construct something similar to the Empire State Building.
Construction began on September 19, 1939. After almost 8 years, the building was inaugurated on June 27, 1947 as São Paulo's tallest, being 161.22 meters in height. It remained São Paulo's tallest skyscraper for nearly 20 years. In the time of inauguration it was also tallest skyscraper outside United States.[3] During much time the building was easily identifiable due to the luminous signboard that shone from its roof. In the following year a French magazine called it the biggest structure of armed concrete of the world, because many big buildings (including the Empire State Building, which at the time was the world's tallest) were constructed with metal. In the decade of the 1960s the building's name was changed to "Edifício Altino Arantes", an homage to the first Brazilian president of the bank, Altino Arantes Marques. Since then, the building has not undergone any significant external alterations, even after the 2000 sale of Banespa to the Spanish financial group Banco Santander Central Hispano.


The building has 35 floors, is 161.22 meters tall and 17,951 square meters in area, and has 14 elevators, 900 steps and 1,119 windows. For 20 years, it was the tallest building in São Paulo. In 1948, it was considered to be the biggest reinforced concrete structure in the world.


The entrance hall is 379 square meters in area. Its chandelier employs national crystal in the "déco-eclectic" style. It has granite blocks on the floor, small tiles with very small drawings of the Brazilian territory, encircled by the words "Banco do Estado do São Paulo" (Bank of the State of São Paulo).


The Banespa Tower is one of the best-known skyscrapers of São Paulo. In the highest point of the building, accessible from 33rd floor by 2 sets of stairs, there is an observation deck with views of up to 40 km. One can see there other important landmarks of the city, such as the Municipal Market, the Sé Cathedral, the Edifício Italia which took its place as the city's highest building, and beyond into diverse neighboring quarters. From the top one may see
To get a tour you will need identification. A copy of your passport if you are a foreigner. The Parapet is small and you are only allowed 5 minutes at the top but the view is spectacular.


The building also houses the Banespa Museum, which chronicles the almost 100-year history of the bank since its inauguration as Bank of Hipothecário Credit of the State of São Paulo until now. The museum's collection includes 993 objects, 1003 workmanships, 98 signed photographs, 66 eastern and national carpets among others items.

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