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Public Space Research Centro Cultural de São Paulo (CCSP)

CASE STUDY: Centro Cultural de São Paulo (CCSP)


Eurico Prado Lopes and Luiz Benedito Telles (PLAE Arquitetura)




The CCSP was a large-scale redevelopment again related to a civic transportation infrastructure project: a cover over the top of a new metro station at Vergueiro. Designed and built during the dictatorship, the CCSP had a difficult birth, but has become one of the city’s most popular and innovative public spaces. As Telles said of it: “Theatre, music and literature were censored, but nobody could criticise architecture, as it is difficult to understand the intentions of the design. We created a place for people to gather, drawn up in a democratic building, whilst under a military dictatorship!” Designed by members of a younger generation who eschewed the monumental Brutalism of the São Paulo School, the design is influenced by the organisational ideas of bürolandschaft and is a tour de force of non-hierarchical interior and exterior, formal and informal spaces joined by ramps that led seamlessly from one activity to another: first and foremost a library, but also an art gallery, a theatre, rehearsal spaces, music venues, unprogrammed spaces, and a rooftop ‘park’ on which to sit or walk and contemplate the city.

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