Dreamed up by architect Lina Bo Bardi, Teatro Oficina’s experimental, drug-fuelled theatre was a hallmark of Brazil’s counterculture in the 60s and 70s. Now it risks being a casualty of São Paulo’s sweeping development and culture war

In the Brazilian television programme for children Castelo Rá-Tim-Bum, the money-grubbing villain, Dr Abobrinha, wants to demolish a magical castle and build a tower of flats in its place. The plot is fictional, but the parallels with a fight currently playing out in downtown São Paulo are hard to ignore.

Last month, the TV presenter and business tycoon Silvio Santos finally won approval to build three 100m-high residential blocks on land he owns in the Bixiga district.

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