Updated on Feb.10, 2014
For 15 years, the old movie theater stood closed. However, six of those years were spent on restoration, and yesterday Cine Theatro Brasil Vallourec, a landmark whose history is closely related to the development of Belo Horizonte as a Brazilian metropolis, reopened as a multi-purpose cultural venue.
With seven floors - at a total height equivalent to standard 11 floors - and an area of 8,300 square meters, the new attraction has two theaters (one with 1,000 seats and another with 200), two floors with galleries for art exhibitions, an event area for up to 650 people, a restaurant, a shop.
The building designed in 1930 by architect Ângelo Alberto Murgel and opened on July 14, 1932 was Belo Horizonte's first in Art Déco style. Its construction trailblazed the local use of reinforced concrete, with Emílio Baumgart, a representative of Modernism in Rio de Janeiro along with Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer, as calculist engineer. All the concrete used was imported from England.
Gustavo Penna (blog.gustavopenna.com.br), a Belo Horizonte native and a stellar architect in his own right, included another Murgel creation in BH - Edifício Ibaté (1935), on Rua São Paulo - on a list of architectural landmarks in his city which he described as "scintillations" of quality".
Outstanding features of the old cinema, now renovated, include iron and hammered glass windows and a facade finished with stone powder.
In keeping with the recent launching of cultural venues in Minas Gerais in time for 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, the opening of Cine Theatro Brasil Vallourec was marked by a special exhibition: that of "Guerra e Paz" (War and Peace, www.guerraepaz.org.br), by Cândido Portinari (1903-1962), commissioned by the Brazilian government as a gift to be displayed in the United Nations Headquarters (and finished at great personal cost for the artist, whose health was unstable).
The monumental work with two panels - one representing war, the other peace - stayed for a few weeks at the Cine Theatro before being moved to the Grand Palais in Paris and back home to New York City and its permanent home in the entrance hall to the UN General Assembly, where it cannot be viewed by the general public, not even during guided visits.
The attraction won the Accessibility Prize 2013 promoted by SP Escola de Teatro in the cultural venue category, by popular vote. Cine Theatro Brasil has three elevators and facilities in accordance with accessibility standards.
Address & Contact Information:
Rua dos Carijós 258 - Praça Sete
Belo Horizonte - MG