Interview with Roberto Tibau

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Roberto Goulart Tibau, 2002. Photo: Ricardo CarranzaRoberto Goulart Tibau, 2002. Photo: Ricardo Carranza



Born in Niterói, Roberto José Goulart Tibau (1924-2003) joined the School of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro  in 1945, when the school was becoming the  National Architecture College the University of  Brazil.

During the course, Tibau worked in the offices of Francisco de Paula Lemos Bolonha, Álvaro Vital Brasil, Affonso Eduardo Reidy and Oscar Niemeyer, where he was a colleague of Eduardo Corona. After his graduation in 1949, Tibau decided to move to São Paulo looking for new opportunities and jobs. In São Paulo, Tibau heard from Eduardo Corona that the School Agreement  was increasing the techniques. Then, he was interviewed by the architect Hélio Duarte and joined the team in 1950 (CARRANZA, 2001).

When he worked at  the School Agreement  (1950-1955), Tibau designed eight schools and the   Arthur Azevedo Popular Theater, preserved by the  Municipal Council for the Preservation of Historical, Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the city of São Paulo (Compresp), in 1992. In 1952, Tibau started his academic career entering the Institute Of Contemporary Art  of São Paulo (IAC).

During the years of School Agreement, Tibau and Corona started an useful partnership with the project of Planetarium (CARRANZA; CARRANZA, 2017). They also set up an office, which resulted in award winning projects like    Pacaembu  House (Eugênio Santos Neves), 1951, with Luis Fernando Corona, winning  the first award of the state government, and the   Pinheiros  House (Rodolfo Mesquita Sampaio), also in 1951, awarded on the First. São Paulo’s Moderna Exhibition, both representing the modern architecture of Escola Carioca. Tibau also created the Project of the Municipal School of Astrophysics, one of the important examples of modern São Paulo’s  architecture (CARRANZA, E., 2017).  

In 1957, attending the invitation of his friend Hélio Duarte, he was hired by FAUUSP (Faculty of Architecture of the University of São Paulo) where he taught for thirty years. Tibau, who always conciliated the professional and academic activities, restarted his teaching career in 1997, in the São Judas Tadeu University invited by the former coordinator, Luiz Augusto Contier.

Tibau gave us this interview in his office in 2002, when we were writing the article “Document: Roberto José Goulart Tibau” (CARRANZA; CARRANZA,2002) which was the first work dedicated to the architect's work. In September 2002 when the article was published, we received a call from Tibau who was very touched and pleased with the publication. He would pass away months after that call.


E.G.C; R.C. – Why did you choose the architecture major?

TIBAU – It was through a well-informed classmate of  Audrerves College, I heard that buildings needed to be designed to be built, and that was the work of an architect. Then, I went to school (because I  have always liked to draw since I was little and I have never lost that) as he told me and there I joined the program for the college entrance examination, including artistic drawing, molding and a subject for composition and manufacturing of building materials instead of the terrible chemistry. I fell in love at first sight, made a prep school and I passed the vestibular college entrance examination in 23rd place (in a class of 90 students) and each time I became more enchanted by the classes, works, and finally with architecture itself.

E.G.C; R.C. – How was the environment in college ?

TIBAU – The college environment was great. The coexistence with ENBA colleagues, painting, sculpture, etc. was very pleasant, the frequency on Café Amarelinho which was almost in front of Ministry Education, etc. We discussed the creation of the National Faculty of Architecture for a long time, which happened when I was still in my first year.

I always thought that common origin with the School of Fine Arts of Rio de Janeiro was very appropriate. It was the beginning of architecture already started with a faculty and a five-year  course program  much like  the Faculty of Architecture of the University of São Paulo  (FAU Maranhão) in its beginning. I guess that they took it as a model and improved, including some new subjects and cutting others out. Initially until I finished the course, the installations, faculty and management remained  the same. Then, the school went to the   Praia Vermelha neighborhood while they had not built the university campus. The students wrote  a newspaper called    “Anteprojeto!”, made in poor paper but with  friendly pagination, pictures, drawings and articles which reflected a strong socialist ideology (Marx, Engels, etc.) and was enthusiastic with   the memorable modern Brazilian architecture. The writing and the drawings were printed with red paint on a sand colored background. I would like to talk more about my colleagues and friends, about the professors (some of them architects, others coming from the polytechnic school) which I remember very well but I see there is no prolongation to this.

E.G.C; R.C. - How was your arrival in São Paulo?

TIBAU-  I was a newly-grad . Just graduated, I met a friend who was invited to work in a construction company in the city of São Paulo but he gave me the opportunity to replace him with a cover  letter, because he was ‘’digging’’ a position in a government  agency in the city of  Rio de Janeiro which had developed projects for the  northeast of Brazil. I accepted quickly and my mother agreed  since her family was São Paulo-based and I managed to stay with some  cousins in the street Cardoso de Almeida. I had already worked in good architecture offices (Oscar, Aldany Toledo, Francisco Bolonha, Vital Brasil, among others) as a designer but I did not know what to do after graduation.

I never found that company but talking with Tio Fábio Goulart who was an engineer and friend of the architect Marcial Fleury de Oliveira who was looking for a young architect to help in the construction of Santa Cruz Housing Projects, on Santa Cruz Street (Vila Mariana neighborhood in the city of São Paulo). I accepted this and more than a year after I had an interesting reasonable construction experience.

E.G.C; R.C. - How was your hiring for the School Agreement Team? How was the work there and which projects of this period would you like to highlight?

TIBAU – I heard about the School Agreement from  Eduardo Corona which had  been my partner  at the School of Fine Arts, and this same uncle friend of   the engineer called Amadei, president of the agency that was actually selecting architects,

  I was introduced  to Hélio Duarte which interviewed me, saw some works that I carried along (something about  the building Headquarters of Bandeirantes do Brasil, in partnership  with other colleagues, and about the preliminary design which I would present in a contest for the construction of  National Assembly  and which I have made everything, project, drawings, perspective, etc.) Hélio seemed impressed and invited me to work as an intern. He was in charge of  developing the project of the Rural School  of  Butantã neighborhood,  for which he had already done some drawings and defined a start. Then, I was hired as  constructor and became a friend and admirer of Hélio for the rest of  his life.

Main works:  the Planetarium, the Popular Theater,  and many schools, among then the Educational Center for Deaf Children, and the  de São Miguel Educational Complex , besides many school groups: Cidade Isidoro, Escola de Aplicação ao Ar Livre on Faustolo Street, and many others.

I highlight as well a planning proposal of a school network that I made from the educational ideas of Anísio Teixeira, for which Hélio had designed  the Park Schools and Class Schools Plan . I admire this work until now, even though it was not executed and had only been part of an internal ideas contest. It is about current and urgent problems for education.

E.G.C; R.C. - How was your participation in teaching architecture? How  was  the Faculty of Architecture of the University if São Paulo was in the  1950’s? And in the later decades? How was your relationship with Artigas, Flávio Motta, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, etc.? And with students? And with politics?

TIBAU –   I participated as an assistant teacher, at the time responsible for the course Plastics III, linked to some of his great compositions. And so it was.

The Faculty of Architecture of the University of São Paulo had vitality on the cultural, architectural and ideological plan. For me it was dazzling and I felt like part of a family since the beginning

Respecting my relation with Artigas, we made a good friendship full of admiration for this wonderful architect.

I had known Flávio Motta since  the Museum of Art where I had taught a course of architectural drawing. I had always had good friendship and admiration for this fantastic person, a great intellectual and artist.

With Paulo Mendes da Rocha I had good friendly relations and also great  admiration because this colleague had a huge spotlight on our modern architecture.

I got along very well with students even with some hard moments about politics, my biggest worry was to try to get students to continue designing because that’ was  our main language.

E.G.C; R.C. - What’s your opinion about the modern architecture of São Paulo?

TIBAU – From the early fifties,  young people’s interest in architecture increased intensely due to a bigger promotion of the modern architect's works and the renovation of architecture. This was socially and ideologically attractive. Besides that, the teaching staff already had architects able to improve teaching programs. The reform created sequences of projects (........., industrial draws, visual communication and planning) had a big importance on this renovation process. The establishment of the Department of  Project , History and Technology as the development of  university career resulted in master's and PhD  graduate programs. Moreover,  it is worth mentioning that the Faculty of Architecture of the University of São Paulo has a rich library.

All of these factors and more, the divisions of courses  in core  and elective,  flexible  course programs contributed to   an intense natural environment and a great improvement in new architects' education resulting in a great advance in architecture, despite the political situation. This process reached other states as Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Minas, etc. and also other schools, including our neighbor  Mackenzie College, with a very rich exchange.

Nowadays more than ever, the greatness of this architecture is a big promise to the future, the excellent quality of our young architects says so.

E.G.C; R.C. - You have received an honorable mention for your participation in the Brasilit  Architecture Award. Tell us about the project.

TIBAU – This Brasilit award came in a rare time too. I participated with enthusiasm and made freehand drawings personally with my Oxford pens. I made a housing complex with single family houses, architects program that, in my opinion, had a great lack due to the bad orientation of public agencies that always disdained the collaboration of architects

The contest was in two steps. Firstly, they selected some projects that later would be developed to achieve a final result.

A member of the judging commission said our highlighted project ended with only an honorable mention because it was developed enough. With pleasure I will select a drawing  that represents the work to publish on that opportunity.

E.G.C; R.C. - What do you think about architecture that came after modern architecture, like postmodernism, deconstructivism, minimalism?

TIBAU – Nothing can be stucked. Everything needs to evolve and this evolution is through ruptures and leaps and bounds that may represent sometimes setbacks and misinformation like in our case. This was certainly necessary and results in a refreshed architecture, and architecture needs to stay always new.

E.G.C; R.C. – What message would you give to the young people?

TIBAU – I would say: for me it is very pleasant to see how you work and this youth flavor in your projects and the way that you do and conceive it. Try not to lose these characteristics.



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About the author:

Edite Galote Carranza

Professor at the Architecture and Urbanism course in the Graduation program  in Architecture and Urbanism at the São Judas Tadeu University, São Paulo. P.h.D. from the University of São Paulo’s School of Architecture and Urbanism (2013). M.A. from  the Mackenzie Presbyterian Institute (2004). B.A. in Architecture and Urbanism from by the Mackenzie Presbyterian University School of Architecture (1991). She works in the fields of São Paulo’s architecture history, and architectonic project and drawing, with two textbooks published: “Representation Scales in Architecture" and “Constructive Details of Architecture”. Member of the magazine Arq. Urb.’s editorial board. Member of the Research Group CNPQ? Architecture: Alternative and Transdisciplinary Approaches in the Contemporary Condition. Member Executive Director of the architecture office and publishing G&C Arquitectônica Ltda since 1998, where she develops projects in architecture, corporate architecture and editorial projects; editor of the Electronic journal magazine 5% arquitetura + arte ISSN 1808-1142, since 2005; editor of the Facebook page 5% arquitetura+ arte, since 2015.




Ricardo Carranza 

PUBLICATIONS in Anthologies of National Contests – SCORTECCI, SESC DF, literature magazine CULT, and Poetry and Literature websites Zunái, Stéphanos, Germina, Cult – Literary Workshop, Mallarmargens. Published Poetry BOOKS: Sextet, Author’s Edition, São Paulo, 2010; The Empirical Flower, Author’s edition, São Paulo, 2011; Dramas, Publishing G&C Arquitectônica Ltda., São Paulo, 2012. Unpublished Tales BOOKS: The comedy of errors, 2011/2018 – pre-selected in the Literature Sesc Prize 2018; Anachronisms, 2015/2018. Insomnia Notebooks (58): since 2009. ARTICLES published in 5% Arquitetura+Arte magazine since 2005.



How to cite:

CARRANZA, Ricardo; CARRANZA, Edite Galote. Entrevista Roberto Tibau. 5% Arquitetura + Arte, São Paulo, ano 14, v.01, n.17, e107, p.1-8, jan./ jun. 2019. Disponível em:  


English translation by:

Beatriz Soares dos Reis

M.A. Nívia Maria Rodrigues Fernandes Marcello




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