A Tropicalist Roman Woman in Brazil

Lecture: 14/06/2017; 4:30 pm; UPSAM, Juan XXIII, 3

Study Abroad Program 2017. School of Architecture and Panning. University at Buffalo

The first time somebody talked to me about Lina Bo Bardi (Lina) it was in 2001 during a University staying in Latin America, then I took a bus from Rosario, Argentina, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to visit the Museum of Art that Lina designed in that city in 1968.

Later, in 2004, I visited the Biennial of Venice where I found as a surprise a monographic exhibition about the work of Bo Bardi. Metaphorically, Lina returned to Italy at that moment, the country she left in 1946.

In that exhibition, I discovered the meaning of the objects she created. After that experience, the fascination on her work came and I started a deep research about her way of understanding architecture and world. I travelled to Italy and Brazil trying to discover in those places her biography, her writings and her vital trajectory.

In the Venetian exhibition, I discovered a special object designed in 1988, the Great Mechanics Cow, that it was inside a magical atmosphere consisting on a forest of colored masts and other imaginary objects coexisting with furniture, models, and drawings of Lina´s projects.

The Great Mechanics Cow is a display case and it synthesizes imagination and technology. Lina linked these two worlds, to get a third one that was universal and Brazilian at the same time. She wrote:

« Great Mechanics Cow— Sculptural Object / Resounding and illuminating installation / Container articulated exhibitor for Brazilian popular craftwork objects…Miracle Box”…»

However, was Bo Bardi´s architecture a playground where her objects were displayed?

The complex creative work of Lina Bo Bardi is a response to European modernity from Brazil, differentiating itself from other works in the new expressive tools used and in the importance of collectiveness in public spaces. Her work can really be understood when user is involved and becomes a creator.

The limits of her creative universe disappeared when she travelled to Brazil to live in Sao Paulo in 1947; then a new age of reflection and intense making appeared, with new criteria and priorities ―that are still current and necessary nowadays.

Her idea on public spaces is an importance of her life experience, with a clear didactic vocation, and leading her to attempt to teach others how to observe and act upon the reality of the world around them and transform it. For Lina, architecture is not a utopia but a way to get collective wishes.

The second time I travelled to Brazil, I was thirty-one, the same age that Lina was when she travelled to Brazil firstly, and I followed the same steps she followed, I visited the same Brazilian destinations that she loved so much: Rio da Janeiro, Uberlandia, Sao Paulo, Salvador da Bahia and the rest of the Northeast of Brazil.

Lina Bo Bardi opened new ways of architecture and linked our profession with the social problems of the moment ―very similar to the current ones― design, arts craft, art and participation. She changed the way of understanding architecture and she changed the way of understanding Brazil in the world.

She said: «Brazil is free of prejudices and Occidental academicism, Brazil doesn´t have a canonic and culture tradition but Brazil is another thing, it is spontaneity and a bit of fullness too» but for Lina, that fullness was really beauty and I wanted to take part of that fullness too. So, let’s travel and (re)think about Lina Bo Bardi ´s architecture.

Poster_Sánchez Llorens

Paseo Juan XXIII, 3

Class next to Grade Room (White Building, 1st Floor)



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