University of São Paulo: Book brings the multiple career of architect Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves

Born in Santos (SP), the architect and urban planner Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves (1917-2005) had his professional career marked both by public works – which include residences, sports buildings, schools and institutions – and by his contribution to academic life, actively participating of the creation of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU) at USP. Another highlight was his commitment to expanding the field of work of architects, based on his involvement in art and architecture biennials, and his struggle for the formation of the Architecture course in the State of São Paulo – since he studied architecture when it was still was linked to the engineering course, graduating as an engineer-architect, in 1941, at the Escola Politécnica da USP. In addition, he was one of the founders of the Instituto dos Arquitetos do Brasil (IAB) in São Paulo,

His multiple trajectory is described in the recently released book Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves – Architect Citizen (Edições Sesc), by the architects Gino Caldatto Barbosa and Ruy Eduardo Debs Franco. “Exponent of a generation of professionals aligned with the modern ideal of thinking of the building and the city as transforming instruments of collective reality, Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves punctuated his career along unequal paths”, write the authors of the book. According to them, the work presents different readings that approach its production beyond professional success, dealing with the actions of the architect and the citizen, thus expanding the understanding of their complex personality.

For the architect and urban planner Júlio Roberto Katinsky, professor at FAU, who signs the preface of the work, Corrêa Gonçalves was fundamental for the consolidation and development of the profession, establishing architecture as necessary for civilization and ceasing to be an activity of a few to become of many people dedicated to the coexistence of populations. The professor remembers his defense of teamwork: “The attitude of working as a team and in partnership with other architects marked him forever, which seems to me to be the great contribution of the Polytechnic (from São Paulo) to the constitution of the exercise and teaching architecture in Brazil”. As the architect and also a professor at USP Hugo Segawa observes, at the back of the book, Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves “at the age of 40 already boasted an enviable collection of achievements”.

Participation in USP

Corrêa Gonçalves’ interest in architecture education stands out in his more than 60 years of activity. His involvement began when he was a recent graduate and, during the 1940s, he joined the architects João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Eduardo Kneese de Mello, Ícaro de Castro Mello and Leo Ribeiro de Moraes, among other colleagues from the São Paulo department of the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB), in the discussions for the creation of the FAU, a school that would later become a reference for several architecture courses, including the one in Santos, as the authors of the book tell us. According to them, the claim remained closely linked to the origin of the institute, and the struggle for autonomy in professional training was articulated as one of the main banners of the institution. As Corrêa Gonçalves himself justifies: “We wanted the teaching of architecture to be disconnected from the teaching of engineering and the fine arts (…). We thought engineering was technicist and architecture more humanistic, having to do with the human sciences. And hence the need for different schools for engineers and architects.” It was with this thought in mind that he fought for the achievement of teaching autonomy for architects, seeking its structuring and improvement.

His goals came to fruition with the emergence, in 1948, of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at USP – concomitant with the extinction of the course for architects-engineers at the Escola Politécnica –, which gave him important academic experience, although limited to a brief period, as inform the authors. “Between 1955 and 1956, Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves was Ícaro de Castro Mello’s assistant professor in the discipline of large compositions – curricular equivalent to Project III – for the third year classes”, they say. And they add: “The direct coexistence with the practice of teaching, added to the efforts to create the FAU, would later prove to be something fruitful in the debate for the creation of the Faculty of Architecture in Santos.”

“At the time when Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves enthusiastically participated in the meetings of the foundation of the IAB or the creation of the FAU, naturally I was a high school student”, writes Júlio Katinsky. “I can say, however, that Oswaldo Corrêa Gonçalves was a person who contributed to the consolidation of an activity driven initially by a small group of modern architects from Rio de Janeiro, and later by Brazilians, strongly developing a traditional activity into an interdisciplinary activity, with a unequivocal commitment to the desired city and its common future”, says Katinsky, who carried out several projects alongside Corrêa Gonçalves in a relationship that began during the official meetings of the IAB, “because the architect was very affable and attentive respectful and kind to all people.” Katinsky still concludes:

And Corrêa Gonçalves himself left a message for the younger ones when, in 2002, he received a tribute from the IAB, on the occasion of his 60th birthday: “Trust and fight. Learn from those who have already done it, but innovate, moving forward, thinking about the possibility of a more just and peaceful society”.

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