University Neighbourhood – Butantan

The Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Human Sciences (FFLCH) and the School of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU) of the University of São Paulo are located in the Butantan district, inside the University City Armando Salles de Oliveira (Cidade Universitária, in Portuguese). Butantan (crushed soil in the Tupi language) is a district in the west region of São Paulo and covers an area of approximately 12.5 km2, with a population of 48,040 people. The region was a route of passage for pioneers and jesuit priests who travelled to the countryside. It was formed primarily of farms, such as Butantã farm which would later become the location for the first installations of Butantan Institute.

About Butantan Institute

The Butantan Institute is the largest manufacturer of vaccines and serums in Latin America and a major producer of immunobiologicals in Brazil. The institute also contributes to a large volume of the national production of vaccine antigens, producing around 65% of the vaccines distributed through SUS in the National Immunisation Program, as well as 100% of the vaccines against influenza viruses used in the National Influenza Vaccination Campaign.

Officially recognized as an autonomous institute in 1901, formerly named Instituto Serumtherápico (Serumtherapic Institute), Butantan Institute had a crucial role in fighting the bubonic plague outbreak in the coastal city of Santos, an outbreak that affected the public health and the economic potential of São Paulo State. The first cases of the disease were diagnosed by doctor Vital Brazil Mineiro da Campanha, first director of the Butantan Institute. Born on April 28th 1865 in the city of Campanha, in the state of Minas Gerais, Vital Brazil gained international recognition for his work on the institute, on the production and distribution of vaccines and propagation of scientific knowledge.

In more than a hundred years, several buildings were constructed in order to meet the institute’s demands for research, diffusion and production. Because of its historical and architectural importance, the compound is a state’s historical protected heritage. In 1941, Butantan Institute gave a significant portion of its land to the installation of the University City of University of São Paulo (USP).

For further information on Butantan district and Butantan Institute, please visit the sources below:

DE FRANCO, M. KALIL, J.e Franco, Marcelo & Kalil, Jorge. The Butantan Institute: History and Future Perspectives. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 2014

HAWGOOD, B.J. Pioneers of anti-venomous serotherapy: Dr Vital Brazil (1865-1950). Toxicon. 1992

Architectural and Historical Guide – Butantan Institute