Architectural Jewel - Iron Structure

An iron theater designed for the imaginary cities of the time, based on the ideas of progress and modernization of urban life developed in large European cities.

Theatro José de Alencar (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Theatro José de Alencar

More than in most Italian-style theaters, the iron architecture of Theatro José de Alencar served to satisfy the public's vanities, making it a spectacle.

Iron Theater (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Iron Theater

For non-industrialized countries like Brazil, where all that had been achieved, in terms of progress, was the export-import trade with Europe, having an iron theater gave the illusion of having entered the portico of civilization.

Eclectic Architecture (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Eclectic Architecture

Despite the iron structure being highlighted in the building, the architectural style of Theatro José de Alencar can be characterized by the eclectic style, very much in vogue at the time of its construction.

Scottish Structure (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Scottish Structure

The merit of the project in the metallic structure of the audience, supported by cast iron columns, goes to the architects and engineers of the Scottish company Walter MacFarlane & Co. The company also ordered the entire iron and steel structure used in the construction.

The Old and the New (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

The Old and the New

During the last renovation and restoration of the theater, completed in 1991, the introduction of an air conditioning system imposed the placement of a glass curtain next to the facade and iron structure, using your transparency to avoid harming the style of the building.

The Hierarchy of Details (2022-03-23/2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

The Hierarchy of Details

Internally, the guardrails of the frieze, cabin and turret differ from each other, as if there had been an intention to characterize a certain hierarchy through the cast iron decoration of the elements.

Guardrails (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Guardrails

The friezes have handrails with balusters, curved and continuous. The cabins have decorated and curved panels, as if to guarantee the individuality of each cabin. In the turret they have simple grids, without much plastic pretension.

Original Architecture (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Original Architecture

The originality of the Theatro José de Alencar's architecture stems from the division into blocks, which is atypical in theaters. There are two buildings in different styles, separated by a patio that works as an open-air waiting environment, connected by side walkways.

A Parts Catalog (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

A Parts Catalog

Theatro José de Alencar works almost like a catalog of the company Walter MacFarlane & Co., with a varied set of pieces produced by the foundry itself, where we can observe columns, railings, stairs, all in metallic material.

Theater Modernization (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Theater Modernization

Following the idea of ​​the glass curtain, other air intakes present in the theater also received the installation of sealing in the same material, in order to maintain the functioning of the space's cooling system.

Iron and Glass (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Iron and Glass

Multicolored stained glass windows are able to reflect sunlight or spotlights. The stairs receive the reflections of the colors of the stained glass, bringing an air of magic to those who enter the building.

Circulations Between Blocks (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Circulations Between Blocks

Walkway flanked by a worked railing and covered by galvanized iron sheets, connecting the foyer block and the concert hall.

Geometry in Colors (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Geometry in Colors

The frontispiece of Theatro José de Alencar is formed by three arches covered by colored glass. At the height of the turret, the iron forms geometric designs. Higher up, on the pediments, the shape is fan-shaped. The final finish is in the shape of a crown.

Handrail Finish (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Handrail Finish

Helical staircase that gives access to the foyer from the noble courtyard, the theater's internal space.

Staircase (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Staircase

Helical staircase that gives access to the foyer from the noble courtyard, the theater's internal space.

Elements in Harmony (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Elements in Harmony

It is possible to find, side by side, Corinthian capitals, naval-style stairs and Art Nouveau guardrails. A structure with a strong concept in its design, and which speak harmoniously together.

Structural Variety (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

Structural Variety

In all, nine types of grids were used in the building. In the image, we can see the stairs and entrance portals to the theater frieze floor.

A Rigid Delicacy (2022-03-23) by Project: Engineer Bernardo José de Mello, Iron Structure: Walter MacFarlane & Co., and Photographer: Priscilla DuarteTheatro José de Alencar

A Rigid Delicacy

In parts of the building, a delicate design is displayed, which recalls the linearity and freedom of composition of Art Nouveau, although it is still possible to observe a kind of classical rigidity, denounced by the presence of obsessive symmetry.

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