The building with no name


Yesterday I spent my afternoon with a seven-member family squatting in a downtown São Paulo building.

The family sleeps in a room with their belongs piled high against the wall due to their limited space and multiple members. The father of the five children, Juan, came to São Paulo from Chile in 1984 and has not been able to get better housing because of a lack of appropriate paper work and because of the high prices of the housing near his place of work.

Along with the seven member family in the single room, they also have a dog named Bella.

Along with the seven member family in the single room, they also have a dog named Bella.


I mentioned in a previous post that this building is not affiliated with the Roofless Movement. This building is different in a few ways.

This building is not as organized as the Prestes Maia and the Mauá building that have security cameras, makeshift arcades and small convenience stores. It’s also is nameless. This is because the people will be forced to evacuate by authorities in March and feel no need to get settled before they have to leave.


Another difference is that this building has rules. People can be told to leave for shouting at their families too often or not sending their kids to school, among other reasons. But, before anyone is kicked out, the members of the building try to help them first.

As the leader of the building, Julianna said she doesn’t want to see anyone that they kicked out of the building on the street.

I was invited to Christmas dinner tomorrow with the largest family in the building. Should be a great way to spend my holiday away from home.

Happy holidays all,


About Morgan Spiehs
Morgan Spiehs is a junior from Wood River, Neb. Spiehs has traveled to India, Brazil and Ethiopia on photojournalism projects through the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. She placed in the top five at the Hearst multimedia competition for the short documentary she made on a slum school in India. Last summer, she interned as the only full-time photographer for five weekly newspapers in northeast Nebraska. Spiehs will be interning at the Lincoln Journal Star this summer and will be photo chief at the Daily Nebraskan in the fall.

One Response to The building with no name

  1. Nicely done, Morgan. And Merry Christmas. Looking forward to seeing the pictures from Christmas dinner. Take care.

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