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The first skyscraper symbol of the diversity and plurality of the South American giant , The Martinelli Building 

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From a bird's eye view in the heart of the city of Sao Paulo, we can see the majestic first skyscraper, symbol of the diversity and plurality of the South American giant.

In 1924, the construction of the 12-storey building began on a large plot in the noblest area of the capital, between São Bento, Líbero Badaró and São João avenues. The author of the project was the Hungarian architect William Fillinger from the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.


Designed by the Italian shipowner and emigrant Giuseppe Martinelli, it stands proudly as a definition of daring, avant-garde and tenacity of a decisive period in the history of America, the 1920s, when modern architecture took its first steps towards the conquest of the skies, thus becoming the tallest building in Latin America for several decades. 


The building materials, such as the cement, imported directly from Sweden and Norway by Martinelli's own importing house, as well as the 90 craftsmen, both Italian and Spanish, who took care of the finishing touches came from Europe, and the details of the rich facade were drawn by the Lacombe brothers.



The Martinelli building was striking not only for its size but also for its rich ornamentation and luxurious finish: Riga pine doors, Carrara marble stairs, Belgian glass, mirrors and wallpaper, English sanitaryware, Swiss lifts, all the best of the world at the time, marble walls on the stairs, oil painting in the rooms on the 20th floor, 40 kilometres of plastered arabesques...

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Architecturally speaking, the building has openings, common in American hotels of the time, for ventilation and lighting, and presents the three basic divisions of classical architecture: basement, body and crown. The basement is clad in red granite; on the crown, false slate mansard and the body is painted in three shades of pink and covered with pink mass, a mixture of frosted glass, imitation diamonds, very pure sand and mica dust that made the façade shine at night.

In 1924 it was designed to be 12 storeys high, but with the support and the brilliance of the population, which encouraged it to grow and build more storeys, it was increased to 14, then 18, and in 1928 it was 25 storeys high, the maximum allowed at the time, despite many obstacles and difficulties, and later increased to 30, the last five of which were for Martinelli's own residence, as Gustave Eiffel did in his tower.

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Before its completion it had already become an icon of the city of Sao Paulo and a world reference for great inventors of the History of Humanity such as Guglielmo Marconi who visited the building in 1931 and the Zeppelin that flew over it in 1933.

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A true architectural and ornamentation jewel, a model for architecture students and an incomparable symbol of a Sao Paulo in expansion and that knew how to adapt to the new tendencies, needs and security norms throughout the years, only losing its reign in 1944 for the Banco do Estado building, currently the Santander Lighthouse, being a victim of the very verticalization of which it had been a pioneer.   

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A building not to be missed in our visit to the city of Sao Paulo, where we will enjoy unbeatable views and where we will feel in first person what the great creators, dreamers and entrepreneurs felt when they defied time.


Educational and Pedagogical Visits

The Martinelli Building conducts educational visits by appointment,

Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Approximately 1 hour, the mediation developed is based on stories that guide the central themes to be worked on.


The visits attend groups from private and public schools and universities, technical courses, social projects and non-governmental organizations, free of charge.


Rooftop Rental

The Martinelli Building, due to its architectural and historical characteristics, receives requests to use its coverage for commercial, private and advertising events.


For more information please click below

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