Edificio Copan: ‘The Coolest’ Building in Latin America

Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, what one resident describes as “the coolest building” in Latin America, Edificio Copan is one of the largest and tallest buildings in Brazil. It is 140 meters tall and has 38 stories. While the upper floors are mostly houses, the ground floor includes establishments ranging from a church to a bookstore and to restaurants.

edificio copan from above
Niemeyer Arquitetura

There are currently almost 1200 apartments with 5000 residents in Edificio Copan. Aside from the residents, more than 100 workers are employed to manage the building. Edificio Copan’s resident number is so high that the Brazilian government gave the building its own postal code.

edificio copan from the side
Mavinho Acoroni

The building’s lead designer is the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. The construction began in 1957 and ended 9 years later in 1966 due to various interruptions.

edificio copan old photo
Oscar Niemeyer Works
copan during construction
Arquivo Arq

Edificio Copan is famous for its sinuous facade design. The building’s curved shape is a nod to the tilde above the “ã” in São Paulo and celebrates the city’s 400th year.

edificio copan's shape is inspired by the tilde in sao paulo
The Archys
edificio copan s like shape
Henrique Passos

Edificio Copan is an acronym of the design company “Companhia Pan-Americana de Hotéis e Turismo” which means Pan-American Hotels and Tourism Company.

copan up close
The Archys

Although Niemeyer designed the building to symbolize the centrality of Sao Paulo, things changed after the construction ended.

copan from perspective
The Archys

Sao Paulo turned into a dangerous city and Copan became a slum filled with drugs and gangs. Consequently, many left the city and the building lost its appeal. In 1993, the new manager Affonso Oliveira took over and began working to give Copan its former glory.

copan from afar
Alex Reipert

After some time, Affonso completely changed the face of Copan and made it a livable habitat once again. Until his retirement, he dedicated himself to getting the government’s approval to renovate the building.

another copan from the side
Katia Carbone

Due to Affonso’s commitment, the government approved the renovation which started in 2021 and is still continuing today.

copan during the night
Gian Cornachini