Owner of the title of Brazil’s largest cinema for a few years, Cine Theatro Brasil was built in 1932 at an important intersection in the Center of Belo Horizonte, called 7 Square. Heavy and elegant at once, its Art Déco volume was one of the largest buildings in the city; it was followed in the 1950s by two other iconic buildings: Banco Lavoura (Álvaro Vital Brazil, 1950) and Banco Mineiro (Oscar Niemeyer, 1953).

In a recent convertion of the cinema into a cultural center, a ballroom was built above the old roof, which generated a great architectural void between the sloped ceiling of the audience and the slab of the new ballroom. Within this void, the original concrete framework of the roof that once covered the original building has been preserved.

Structural Archeology sought to activate this imaginary place, coating the roof framework with a translucent screen, and turning the bleak void into a habitable place. Articulated as a structural archeology exercise, the proposal revisits and recalls the original 1932 architectural design, and recovers the stepped roof which once covered the audience. Timber tableaux were structured over the supporting beams, recreating the experience and the values of a livable space that now works as an enabler of events.

photos: Gabriel Castro