Edifício Copan

Top choice in São Paulo

Copan was designed by late modernist master Oscar Niemeyer. The building, with its serpentine facade and narrow brises soleil (permanent sunshades), is Sampa's most symbolic structure. You can visit its snaking, sloping ground-floor shopping arcade anytime; its spectacular rooftop opens only on weekdays at 10:30am or 3:30pm*, however. The 15-minute visit is no frills – there's barely a railing! – and feels wonderfully unrushed. Checkin at Bloco F (space limited – arrive at least 30 minutes in advance).

Note that the leftist architect designed the building to bring together all classes by including sprawling apartments for the rich as well as tiny studios for the working poor – a real rarity in class-conscious São Paulo. There are over 1150 apartments in total, making it Brazil's largest residential building.

*Visits to the rooftop are temporarily suspended.

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