Altino Arantes Building

Altino Arantes Building

Altino Arantes Building
Edifício Altino Arantes
Record height
Tallest in South America from 1947 (1947) to 1960 (1960)[I]
Preceded by Martinelli Building
Surpassed by Mirante do Vale
General information
Type Office
Location São Paulo, Brazil
Construction started September 13, 1939 (1939-09-13)
Completed June 27, 1947 (1947-06-27)
Inaugurated June 27, 1947 (1947-06-27)
Owner Banco Santander
Tip 161.22 m (528.94 ft)
Roof 161.22 m (528.94 ft)[1]
Top floor 150 m (490 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 36[2]
Floor area 17,951 m2 (193,220 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 14
Design and construction
Architect Plinio Botelho do Amaral
Structural engineer Plinio Botelho do Amaral
Main contractor Camargo & Mesquita
Street leading to the Banespa building.

The Altino Arantes Building (Portuguese: Edifício Altino Arantes), also known as the Banespa Building (in Portuguese: Edifício do Banespa), is an important skyscraper located in São Paulo, Brazil.


  • History 1
  • Statistics 2
  • Hall 3
  • View 4
  • Museum 5
  • References 6


The building was constructed to be the headquarters of the Bank of the State of São Paulo (Banespa), between 1939 and 1947. It remained the tallest building of the city for two decades until being surpassed by the Edifício Itália. Soon after its completion in the 1940s, it was named the world's largest structure of reinforced concrete. It was designed by Plínio Botelho do Amaral, who was inspired by the Empire State Building and Frank Lloyd Wright. Its panoramic view of the center of São Paulo and its outskirts attract thousands of visitors. In the future, the Altino Arantes building will become the headquarters of the Banespa Cultural Institute, facilitating artistic and cultural activities.

After its foundation in 1909, the Banespa underwent a period of substantial expansion and needed a larger headquarters. The first place chosen for such purpose was in Ramos de Azevedo Square, a place distant from the São Paulo's banking district near São Bento and XV de Novembro streets. Determined to move to an area of more economic prominence, the bank made an agreement with the Santa Casa de Misericórdia to purchase a building that they would demolish to construct a new headquarters on João Brícola street. The project was held in the account of the engineer and architect Plinio Botelho do Amaral, but was adapted by the contracting firm Camargo & Mesquita, who wanted to construct something similar to the Empire State Building.

Construction began on September 19, 1939. After almost 8 years, the building was inaugurated on June 27, 1947 as São Paulo's tallest, being 161.22 meters in height. It remained São Paulo's tallest skyscraper for nearly 20 years. In the time of inauguration it was also tallest skyscraper outside United States.[3] During much time the building was easily identifiable due to the luminous signboard that shone from its roof. In the following year a French magazine called it the biggest structure of armed concrete of the world, because many big buildings (including the Empire State Building, which at the time was the world's tallest) were constructed with metal. In the decade of the 1960s the building's name was changed to "Edifício Altino Arantes", an homage to the first Brazilian president of the bank, Altino Arantes Marques. Since then, the building has not undergone any significant external alterations, even after the 2000 sale of Banespa to the Spanish financial group Banco Santander Central Hispano.


The building has 35 floors, is 161.22 meters tall and 17,951 square meters in area, and has 14 elevators, 900 steps and 1,119 windows. For 20 years, it was the tallest building in São Paulo. In 1948, it was considered to be the biggest reinforced concrete structure in the world.


The entrance hall is 379 square meters in area. Its chandelier employs national crystal in the "déco-eclectic" style. It has granite blocks on the floor, small tiles with very small drawings of the Brazilian territory, encircled by the words "Banco do Estado do São Paulo" (Bank of the State of São Paulo).


The Banespa Tower is one of the best-known skyscrapers of São Paulo. In the highest point of the building, accessible from 33rd floor by 2 sets of stairs, there is an observation deck with views of up to 40 km. One can see there other important landmarks of the city, such as the Municipal Market, the Sé Cathedral, the Edifício Italia which took its place as the city's highest building, and beyond into diverse neighboring quarters. From the top one may see

To get a tour, identification card is needed: a copy of the passport for foreigners. The Parapet is small; visitors are only allowed 5 minutes at the top.


The building also houses the Banespa Museum, which chronicles the almost 100-year history of the bank since its inauguration as Bank of Hipothecário Credit of the State of São Paulo until now. The museum's collection includes 993 objects, 1003 workmanships, 98 signed photographs, 66 eastern and national carpets among others items.


  1. ^ Altino Arantes, São Paulo
  2. ^ a b Altino Arantes Building at Emporis, Retrieved on June 17, 2008
  3. ^ Historical: 100 Tallest Buildings in the World in 1950
Preceded by
Martinelli Building
Tallest building in South America
161.22 m (528.94 ft)
Succeeded by
Mirante do Vale
Tallest building in Brazil
161.22 m (528.94 ft)
Tallest building in São Paulo
161.22 m (528.94 ft)