Casa da Suiça
Buses 006 & 007
Nestled on one of the quieter corners of Santa Teresa’s hillside stands what at first appearances is little more than the shell of a once grand building set in typically-‘Teresa leafy grounds. Open to the elements on all sides and with an incongruous central glass façade, Parque das Ruínas is a peculiar mix of modern and classical architecture that just happens to offer one of the best views of Centro from a rooftop café.
The building is the former home of early twentieth-century socialite Laurinda Santos Lobo who, until her death in 1946, hosted some of the most talked about and flamboyant balls of the time that became famous across the city. Falling into ruin after her death as squatters moved in, the Prefeitura finally began restoration in 1993, creating an exhibition space and music venue within its interesting blend of exposed brick, glass and ironwork. Whether the building outshines the view is a matter of some debate, but the summer music season kicks off again this month with jazz and samba evenings on weekends providing another good excuse to visit and supplementing the regular Sunday kids’ programme of activities.