Originally, railways structured the process of metropolization in Sao Paulo at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of the country’s agricultural production was connected to seaports via railways. During that time, Sala São Paulo‘s settlements were centred around railway stations. The city of Luz served as the centre of Sao Paulo and the gateway to Brazil until the middle of the 20th century. As a symbol of the city’s progress, Luz and Julio Preste’s train stations served as transportation hubs for the neighborhood and for the metropolis. The vibrant industrial city of Sao Paulo attracted migrants from all parts of Brazil seeking new possibilities. A paradigm shift was associated with this intense migratory process since urbanization patterns shifted from being polycentric and structured along railway lines toward being sprawling and fueled by automobiles. The current planning paradigm reverts the car-centric approach to urban planning, allowing cities to grow and transit.

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Concert Hall,Sala São Paulo_©Henrique Boney

Spatial planning | Sala São Paulo

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Sala São Paulo-Context of the building_©i.pinimg.com/originals/6d/6d/fc/6d6dfcde373ac8dfc6612466f5f384a2.png

In Sao Paulo, the concert hall is located between two railway stations. Featuring over 1500 seats and sound acoustics both on the floor and ceiling, the concert hall is known for its high-quality acoustics. An interesting feature of the concert hall is its adjustable ceiling which can be altered according to the concert type. On the mezzanine and first-floor levels of the building, there are 22 balconies. Located in a high-rise building with a ten thousand square meter floor area, it has a 24-meter high ceiling. Built in a classic rectangular style, it is an important cultural location. There are 7.5-ton square wooden coffers on the ceiling that can be raised and lowered by cables. There is a convex panel at the centre of each ceiling element that can be oriented to reflect sound longitudinally or laterally. As orchestral support, the ceiling near the orchestra can be configured to form an open shell. Orchestra platforms can be raised and lowered to create pits and to make raised platforms. Originally, the heavy columns formed part of the railroad station plaza and were maintained by the city under the agreement. It was necessary to construct a superstructure in order to support the weight of the additions to the building. Steel and sandstone columns encircled the old indoor garden and supported its structure. Adding the ceiling, acoustics, technical floor, and air conditioning system to this weight is the same as adding the weight of the concert hall ceiling.

Concert hall and floor space

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Architectural representation of Sala São Paulo_©www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/sao-paulo

Located 320 meters above ground, the platform offers total visibility. The stage has portable risers, so that choir and orchestra can alternate in mid-concert. Additionally, the piano can be raised and lowered by an elevator. To neutralize the vibrations caused by constant train movements, an acoustic project was carefully designed. The main hall’s floating floor is composed of a 15-centimeter-thick slab of neoprene sitting on top of a slab of concrete and lined with Brazilian walnut, the perfect material for the absorption of sound. To respect acoustic requirements and avoid aesthetic disfigurement, the floor was also lowered by 1.22 m. A 150 mm slab was selected to create the hall’s shoe box shape, supported by metallic girders protected by the hall’s main structural elements such as trusses and surrounded by three 12.25 mm thick sheets of gypsum board. To minimize unwanted noise, ante-chambers were constructed in the concert hall’s circulation areas and entrances. As well as blocking noise from the trains, the passage to the platforms is lined with thick glass. On the first and second floors, there are 679 seats in boxes and balconies, in addition to 830 seats on the main floor. Ivory wood details adorn the metal seats. Materials were used in such a way as to avoid any potential interference with the sound flow, including the placement and the number of seats.

Adjustable ceiling | Sala São Paulo

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Detail of acoustics adjustable ceiling_©www.pinterest.com/pin/538391330425740339/

A 25-meter-high adjustable ceiling hangs above the main floor. A total of 12 thousand to 28 thousand cubic meters can be adjusted by adjusting the panels individually. In this way, any composition’s acoustic concept will be respected regardless of its intensity. Computers, locks, and automatic sensors can be used to adjust the panels individually or together. Depending on the vibration required, 26 velvet banners are also hung 8 meters down from the ceiling because of their flexibility. Moreover, this system also shows the original architecture along with elements of the newly developed architectural vision. The ceiling is covered with rounded polycarbonate ends that respect the original building’s concept but use more modern materials. Polycarbonate has been used instead of glass, and thermo-acoustic tiles have been used instead of copper. It sustains metal structure and technical flooring. Supported on a structural steel grid, it consists of a reinforced steel deck. In order to hang lining panels, air conditioning equipment, and ducts, the floor is attached to the columns.


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    4. I.pinimg.com. 2022. [online] Available at: <https://i.pinimg.com/originals/18/fc/2e/18fc2e4b1b480ebb0f502c4b3fdc1d41.png> [Accessed 19 June 2022].
    5. Pinterest. 2022. SARAR TEMS (punnarungsitems) – Profile | Pinterest. [online] Available at: <https://www.pinterest.com/punnarungsitems/> [Accessed 19 June 2022].
    6. Pohl, G. and Pfalz, M., 2022. Innovative composite-fiber components in architecture.
    7. VAN Magazine. 2022. Sala São Paulo. [online] Available at: <https://van-magazine.com/mag/sala-sao-paulo/> [Accessed 19 June 2022].
  • Concert Hall, Sala Sao Paulo

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

  1. Boney, H. (2014). Concerto na Sala Sao Paulo. [Image/Graphic].

An observant Architect and wandering soul who captures the tales of poetic experiences through writing. She is a traveler by heart who explores the essence through understanding the relationship between people and places with sensitivity, as she believes “Architecture is an extension of one’s life “