The São Paulo home of Julio Roberto Katinsky is a living, breathing masterpiece of Brazilian modernism: all curves, concrete and creeping vegetation.

Julio Roberto Katinsky - São Paulo home
Brazil’s modern architecture movement flourished in splendid isolation. While Europe was mired in the Second World War, it became the vogue for Brazilian architects to design their own family homes, then invite clients over for a cup of yerba maté to showcase their style. Many such houses were built on virgin plots of land. There were no neighbors or planning issues to navigate. With labor cheap and concrete on tap, the architects could run riot.

Oscar Niemeyer, the architect who built the country’s new capital of Brasília in reinforced concrete, did just that. His Casa das Canoas sums up the era’s groovy simplicity. Curvaceous walls bend free-form with a slab of squiggle-shaped concrete sandwiched on top. European and American architects were shocked, revolted and awed in equa...

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