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A large city deserves a large park and Parque do Ibirapuera is undoubtedly huge. This is where Paulistanos, the inhabitants of São Paulo, flock to escape the city traffic. The park is not only perfect for a leisurely stroll or a relaxed picnic, it is also a cultural hotspot.
Landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994) designed the park in the 1950s together with modernist Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012). Ibirapuera Park was built to commemorate the 400th anniversary of São Paulo. The combination of greenery and culture makes Ibirapuera one of Brazil’s most beloved parks.
Sometimes you can hear Paulistanos light-heartedly refer to the 160 hectares of green as the 'praia’ (the beach). And that is not entirely untrue; as soon as the weather allows, sunbathing visitors take over the lawns in the park. Burle Marx’s design is a succession of tropical plants, lawns with ponds and winding paths. And amidst all the greenery stands Oscar Niemeyer’s futuristic architecture. The buildings blend seamlessly into the park’s landscape.
One of the newest landmarks is the Auditório Ibirapuera, an auditorium for concerts, built in 2005. A striking red flame extends from the sleek white building. The auditorium has many different angles, depending on how you approach it, and has seats for 800 people. A special feature is the 20-metre-wide door at the back of the stage: this opens up to the adjacent lawn from where another 10,000 spectators can see the stage.
Another eye-catching building is the Pavilhão da Bienal de Arte. It was inaugurated in 1957 to host the São Paulo Art Biennial, an art event that is held every 2 years. Niemeyer designed the building with huge windows and high ceilings. Inside, the wavy white balustrades guide visitors along the large art collections. The Pavilion also accommodates events including São Paulo Fashion Week. In the park, you will also find the Pavilhão das Culturas Brasileiras, another Niemeyer creation. Here you can see Brazilian art on display, ranging from regional handicrafts to modern urban designs.