Abandonment: Hans Broos’ house [São Paulo] and legacy at risk

Residencia de Hans Broos. Fuente: Archdaily.

Vía Docomomo.

A lesser-known but outstanding Brazilian Modern architect, Hans Broos [1921-2011] authored a large number of projects and buildings for religious, industrial, institutional and residential activities, designing over 400 projects, of which about a hundred were built. Born in Slovakia, Hans Broos concluded his studies at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, in 1949. He worked as an assistant of professor Egon Eiermann in Karlsruhe Technical University, when he colaborated in many of the master’s reconstruction works, in Berlin and Lübeck, and in a variety of projects such as the Radio Broadcaster Stuttgart [1951] and the Ciba Factory [1948-1952].
Hans Broos migrated to Brazil in 1953, first settling in Blumenau, state of Santa Catarina, where he designed the Lutheran Church of Itoupava Seca [1954], the Grand Hotel Blumenau [1960], the Residence Eduardo Zipser [1959] and the Headquarters of the Santa Catarina Light & Power Company - Celesc [1963] at Florianópolis. In the 1960s he moved his office to São Paulo. Some of his most consecrated works are the St. Boniface Parish Center [1966], the Benedictine Monastery [1970], his own Residence/Office [1971] and the Santa Maria Abbey [1973], among others. During the 50 years he lived in Brazil his most important client was the Hering Blumenau, a weaving and clothes’ manufacturing company, to which he designed several buildings and headquarters in Blumenau and other Brazilian cities.
In the 2000s the architect´s work gradually decreased and his health prevented him from developing new activities. He tried to preserve the amazing legacy of his very well kept archives containing the information and the technical material he collected and produced through his lifetime. Although he offered to donate the property of his beautiful residence/office, plus his archives, he did not succeed into finding a public institution willing to accept the task of managing and preserving his archives. He died in 2011 childless and unable to give a proper destination to them, and they are nowadays at risk of being dispersed or just lost.
His residence and office occupies a steeped parcel accessible by two streets and is surrounded by gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx, who also designed the concrete panel-cabinet over its fireplace. The buildings adopt a brutalist language with exposed concrete surfaces combined with glass, wood and ceramic panels. Despite being listed as Modern Architecture historical heritage by the Department of Culture of São Paulo State in 2008, the property is almost abandoned, and its fate is pending and in risk of loss.

Reference: DAUFENBACH, Karine. Hans Broos: A Expressividade da Forma. Rio de Janeiro: UFRJ/ FAU, 2006.

More details: website

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