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"Wooden Boxes": an iconographic study on Ramos de Azevedo s collection

Grant number: 10/17987-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2011
Effective date (End): December 31, 2011
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Architecture and Town Planning
Principal researcher:Artur Simões Rozestraten
Grantee:Victor Buck
Home Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo (FAU). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


At the original Ramos de Azevedo Office's glass negatives collection, archived at the FAUUSP library, there's a characteristic group of photographic images featuring buildings surrounded by a wooden planking, such as siding, which defines an envelope and accompanies the rising of the building. As the building rises, the "wooden box" rises along, fashioning and securing external scaffolding but, essencialy, hiding the architectural volume from the citizens view. Protected by the planks, the building conforms feeding the imagination and fantasy of the "paulistanos". Erected, the building still remains wrapped throughout the facades finalisation. Throughout this period, posters and advertisements are attached on the timber and combine with the rhythm of open windows to illuminate and ventilate the scaffolding. While shaping, the building melts into the urban landscape as a enigmatic packaging. Finished the works, the box is scenographicaly dismantled revealing a new architecture. This whole process of mounting and dismounting "wooden boxes" was systematically registered by the Ramos de Azevedo & Cia. Technical office photographer's and deserves a specific study, not done yet. This research focuses on a corpus of about 60 "wooden boxes" photographic images of various São Paulo's buildings, among which, the Light Company building, the commercial Club and Matarazzo's building, to investigate the documentary character and symbolic character concerning photographic image on the interface between the actual landscape and the imaginary landscape of São Paulo at the first 20th century's decades.

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