The Performing Arts Centre Praça das Artes is situated in the centre of São Paulo, an area that has suffered from economic decline and urban degradation for decades. The new complex is inserted into a series of interconnected formerly underused or vacant spaces and can be accessed from three sides of the urban block. The historic building of the former Dramatic and Musical Conservatory and the façade of the Cairo Cinema have been incorporated into the complex and thus gained new significance by providing important physical and symbolic references to the past.
Related to the arts of music and dance, Praça das Artes houses the Resident Performing Arts companies of the Municipal Theatre, the Municipal Music and Dance Schools, arts collections and historic archives, administrative offices, a restaurant, spaces for public use and car parking.
The former Dramatic and Musical Conservatory has been restored and converted to hold exhibitions and events; its concert hall is once again in use.
The new volumes are built in exposed concrete, coloured with ochre or red pigments, which provides the necessary strength and unity to the Centre, in terms of structure and urban context. Shear walls guarantee flexibility of the internal spaces and unobstructed external spaces. The new buildings are mainly positioned along the boundaries of the site and, to a large degree, lifted off the ground. Thus, generous open spaces and new public connections across the urban block, like the traditional passages, were created, resulting in the plaza which gives the project its name.