São Paulo
archival print/dibond/white frame
59-76 inches, (edition 5 + 2 a.p.)

“The tallest” is a prefix that, when applied to architectural pieces, often stands for vulnerability and a traumatic history as opposed to strength and success. Certainly, this is the case with the Martinelli Building in São Paulo’s downtown district. The thirty floors constructed by Giuseppe Martinelli seemed too unsafe back in 1934. The fact that the structure was inaugurated as the tallest building in Latin America did not serve as positive promotion. The entrepreneur tried to rescue the situation with a stunt: he decided to live on the top castle-like floors in order to prove the building’s security. He went bankrupt. The building was completely remodeled in the 70s… twice, which didn’t save it from its fate of becoming a squat. It then fell into the hands of the Departments of Municipal Housing and Planning, before finally it welcomed tourists to its rooftop, the accessibility of which regularly triggers jumpers. Two-storey shops, high-rises, and a building fully covered in plastic constitute an eclectic environment, a humbling reminder for all that “the tallest” is a relative statement.

  • share on