UNA barbara e valentim

Centro Universitário Maria Antonia

Centro Universitário Maria Antonia


Maria Antônia Street is a reference in the history of the University of São Paulo (USP) and a landmark in the cultural and political life of the city. It became a catalyst for academic and social discussions with the installation of the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Languages at this address in 1949.
After the violent invasion of the building by a group of right-wing students, accompanied by the police, in 1968 the Faculty of Philosophy was transferred to the Cidade Universitária. The relevance of these events defined the reason for the toppling of the main building of the complex.
The renovation and restoration project seeks to adapt the complex (Rui Barbosa and Joaquin Nabuco buildings) to its new use, a contemporary art center that includes exhibition spaces, rooms for theoretical and practical courses, the University Theater, and has as a central issue to affirm the public character that historically marked this USP’s heritage. The proposal includes the restoration of the main façades and keeps the volumetry of the Rui Barbosa and Joaquim Nabuco buildings intact, but proposes a new relationship between the complex and the city. The free area between the two buildings becomes a public space, forming a small square. At street level, this square is the natural widening of the sidewalk and defines an inviting access to the complex. At the lower level, a wooded courtyard connects the two buildings, creating an open-air performance space for the theater. The project’s contribution to the memory of the academic, cultural, and political movement that was based on Maria Antônia Street is to reclassify the open spaces, offering a generous connection between the complex and the city.
The most significant interventions occurred in the Rui Barbosa Building. The project maintains the building’s spatial organization, characterized by a central staircase and three halls of distinct sizes. The opening of the lateral balcony revealed the original wall of the building’s primitive construction, from the first decade of the 20th century. The largest room, facing the interior of the lot, had no slab, either on the ground or first floor; its floor was made of beams and wooden floor, totally compromised by the action of fungi and termites. This structure was replaced by metallic pieces and a concrete slab, dimensioned according to its new use, allowing the exposure of works with concentrated load. As a consequence, the side façade, absolutely inexpressive, starts to reveal this intervention and requalifies the plan that turns to the new public space. The brise, which occupies a large part of this façade, is an industrial filter composed of stainless steel wires. The panels came modulated from the factory and screwed to the metallic structure.
On the first floor are the exhibition rooms, one of them with large openings to the Maria Antonia street. The lower level is occupied by service spaces, technical reserve, as well as a café and a room for dance and music. And on the second floor, three more exhibition rooms, of distinct dimensions.
The project reveals the different times of the buildings and the set of transformations that accompanied their distinct occupations. It articulates remaining spaces, lot bottoms, original buildings and new constructions through squares, ramps and a walkway. The Maria Antônia University Center is not a building, but interconnected fragments, articulated parts of a densely occupied urban center. Used especially by students but also by a great diversity of people, a characteristic of downtown São Paulo, the Maria Antônia project is a hypothesis about intervening in the consolidated city. A reflection about building from the existing city, with a heritage that is fragile in its architectural qualities, about its relations with the urban memory and the desirable transformations in the central region of São Paulo.


São Paulo, SP

Project start date



UNA arquitetos: Cristiane Muniz, Fábio Valentim, Fernanda Barbara, Fernando Viégas


Ana Paula Castro, André Ciampi, Apoena Amaral e Almeida, Camila Lisboa, Clóvis Cunha, Fernanda Neiva, Felipe Noto, Guilherme Petrella, Henrique Bustamante, Jimmy Liendo, José Baravelli, José Carlos Silveira Jr., Pablo Hereñu, Sílio Almeida

Total Area



Gafisa / lk2

Concrete Structure

França & Associados Engenharia

Metallic Structure

Engebrat Consultores, Engenharia e Projetos


Engenheiros Associados Consultrix

Soil Mechanics

Geoplano Serviços Técnicos ltda.


Projetar Engenharia e Projetos

Cadastral Surveying

Etagri Serviços de Engenharia e Construções

Air Conditioning

Thermoplan Engenharia Térmica

Acoustics and Thermal Comfort

Ambiental s/c ltda.

Stagecraft Technitian

J. C. Serroni Criações Visuais

Lighting Project

Ricardo Heder

Consultoria em Conservação

Gedley Belchior Braga


Sakae Ishi

Eletronic Model

Clóvis Cunha


Nelson Kon
Bebete Viégas

Folha de S. Paulo, caderno sinapse
Novos Estudos (2002)
Mostra Internazionale di Architettura - Venezia 2004 - Padiglione Brasile
Urbs 33 | ano 02, 2004, Brasil
Bravo 110
Area | Editora Motta Architettura, 2011, Itália
Summa+ | Editora Donn S.A, n. 96, 2008, Argentina
Prisma | Editora Mandarim, trimestral 25, 2008
A minha casa é um avião | Relogio D´Água Editores, 2007, Portugal | Autora Ana Vaz Milheiro
Revista Bravo | Editora Abril, 2006, Brasil
Coletivo_arquitetura paulista contemporânea | Cosac Naify, 2006, Brasil
Urbs | n.37, ano 02, 2005, Brasil
Metamorph, Vectors 9ª internacional architecture exhibition | La Bienalle de Venezia, 2004
Metrópole | 5ª Bienal Internacional de Arquitetura e Design de São Paulo, 2003