New Leme Gallery / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + Metro Arquitetos


Architects: Metro Arquitetos, Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Location: Sao Paulo,
Authors: Paulo Medes da Rocha, Martin Corullon e Gustavo Cedroni, Anna Ferrari
Area: 592.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Leonardo Finotti

Collaborators: Alfonso Simelio, Antonia Peña, Bruno Kim, Filipe Barrocas, Isadora Marchi, Luis Tavares, Marina Ioshii, Pedro Mesquita
Total Area: 554,47m²
Construction: SM3
Illumination: Ricardo Heder
Structure: Cia. de Projetos – Heloísa Maringoni
Electric: PHE

© Leonardo Finotti

From the architect. The new leme gallery was built in 2011 two blocks away from the original one. It is a reconstruction of the first building designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Metro architects, demolished by the end of 2011. Beyond the reproduction of the original project, it was added a new building, a cube of 9×9 meters wide, connected to the main building by a footbridge on the upper floor.

© Leonardo Finotti

This new set of buildings is a result of the negotiation of the owner of the gallery with a big construction company who bought the whole block in which the old gallery was located to construct a commercial enterprise. This is part of the process of fast urban transformation, typical of the city of Sao Paulo.

© Leonardo Finotti

From many options, it was decided that the best solution was to remake the same project. Besides being a strong characteristic of the gallery, the idea of keeping the building as it was before was an opportunity to put up for discussion the ideas of preservation of the architectural patrimony, the prevalence of the project over the constructed object and to create a possibility of an unexpected spatial experience: considering that the demolishment took place after the conclusion of the new building, it was possible to visit both galleries, one after the other only two blocks apart. Having in mind that both buildings were so characteristic in their physical attributes, a curious deja-vu effect naturally happened.

© Leonardo Finotti

Both main and support buildings are entirely built of reinforced concrete. The goal was to keep the same formal and material fundaments of the original project by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, including in the connecting bridge, as if it was a continuation, a growth from the original volume. The support building shelters a big collection on the upper pavement and a new exhibition room on the ground level. Through the bridge and the open patio, the connection between the added spaces and the spaces that already existed in the original design becames very fluid.

© Leonardo Finotti

This patio, which resulted from the decision of making the added spaces as a distinct body from the original one is actually an important place of articulation and proves the richness of the idea of the support building as a type, even if not created later, as an addition.

© Leonardo Finotti

The support areas are all concentrated in a side strip, making the distribution of electrical and hydraulic installations easier. The administrative areas have skylight and windows and are located over the exhibition rooms, which have between six and nine meters tall, also with zenithal illumination.The building is closed with big steel doors and glass.

Ground Floor

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "New Leme Gallery / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + Metro Arquitetos" 06 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 Jul 2014. <>

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