Sep 14, 201309:00 AMPoint of View


Lina Bo Bardi’s Personal Modernism

(page 2 of 5)

She opened her new studio in Sao Paulo and slowly grew her busy and successful and varied practice. She was designing exhibits, furnishings, interiors and buildings, stage sets, art; she was, again, involved in publishing, becoming a respected figure on the Brazilian cultural scene beyond just the design clique. She did not build much, but what she did build had a strength that still resonates and we can learn from.

The “Casa de Vidro” (or Glass House), from 1951, was her first built project in Sao Paulo. Designed for herself and her husband, the house is located in what was then a lush green rain forest area, slightly remote from the city. Contemporary of both Mies’s and Philip Johnson’s glass houses, Bo Bardi’s design lifts the whole house off the ground by a full flight of stairs, creating a different relationship with the site (thus nature), as one enters the living area from underneath. It’s as if she is combining Farnsworth House and Ville Savoye with her own sense of space. Further enriching the dialogue with the natural setting, an elevated open courtyard brings the ground up to be a part of the house, even if by its negative space presence. The back, utilitarian part of the house makes the bridge of living with the steep ground behind it. Since the house was built, the area has become an affluent neighborhood. Although the forest mostly diminished, the house still hovers, now encircled by the trees that grew up around it.

Sep 14, 2013 05:42 pm
 Posted by  SeanAsh

Nice tour of some of her buildings. But how did you miss the SP Museum of Art????

Bo Bardi was one of my favorite architects, similar to late Le Corbusier, but I will hate it if she comes to prominence now not because of the quality of her work but because of this trendy feminism ('personal' modernism: barf) that she would have hated--like qualifying and beginning this story in terms of Denise Scott Brown. This is where the media does the built world no favors, if this becomes another trite story about the heroic female who goes up against the 'omnipresent' male architects. I'd prefer to see it through the lens of the rest of your story: it's just rich, layered, colorful, brazilian architecture.

All the rest is b.s.

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