The inclined buildings of Santos, on the Sao Paulo coast

Buildings in Santos are crooked,In Santos, on the coast of São Paulo, technology had to be used to compensate engineering errors and is easy to notice the inclination of about a hundred buildings along the Santos waterfront. They even became attractions. According to a survey by the Santos City Hall, there are approximately 98 crooked buildings with incline levels between half a meter and a meter and eighty centimeters.

The tourists find it curious. But do would they live there? The soil in Santos is the second worst in the world, second only to Mexico City. The soil of the city is made up of eight to 12 meters average of compact layer of sand, then 20 to 40 meters of marine clay layer and can then have another strip of sand or not, and finally a hard layer formed by rocks which varies from 40 to 50 meters.

Most of these buildings are at Bartolomeu de Gusmao Avenue (between Avenue Advisor Nébias and channel 6). They are the buildings Nuncio Malzone, 14; Excelsior, 22; Marazul, 53, Iris, 60 and Maembi, 65.

But some joke about the situation. The caretaker of the Malzone building ironically suggests the collection of tickets to see the buildings, reminding the Di Pisa tower in Italy. Manoel says the residents end up getting used to it. “It’s been 12 years that I live here. At first it was strange, because I could not fill the coffee cup to the brim or the liquid would just pour out. Now I do not feel it anymore.”

And there are those who get used quickly, as is the case of the Iris building caretaker. He lived there for six months on the top floor and says some funny things happen. Among them, marbles run off to the lower side of the slope and the people who are not used to it, when they go into the hallway, end up walking sideways. Residents of the building Maembi solved these problems leveling the floors of their apartments and therefore do not realize the slope from inside their units.

An inclined building in Santos.
The visible incline of a building in the Santos sea front.

The buildings were bent for two reasons. The first, to save, construction companies built foundations without the required depth. The second is that the soil in Santos has 12 meters of sand, clay and more sand. To avoid problems, a foundation of 55 meters would be needed. The building Núncio Malzoni, for example has foundations of only had 1.5 meters in depth. It did not take long to start tilting.

A solution designed to fix the buildings was developed by teachers from the Department of Engineering Structures and Foundations of the Polytechnic School of USP, and was considered unprecedented in the world. It was visited by engineers of various countries like Mexico, Canada and Japan, and even by one of the engineers responsible for the solution adopted in the Tower of Pisa, who came to know the used technique. To correct the depression, pneumatic jacks were placed on the side of the building.








Watch this report that shows how oranges roll inside the apartments and how doors don’t stay open.

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Joe Cloud
Dutch, American, Brazilian... lived there for 5 years and owns property in Brazil. Out of the country for a few years now and would like to go back, however current circumstances tell me it's not the right time.