11.14.2007

SESC Pompeia - Lina Bo Bardi



In the mid seventies, an old factory for oil drums in Sao Paulo was not in use anymore. The plan was to convert it to a recreational centre. Lina Bo Bardi decided to keep most of the complex the way it was, to preserve the characteristics of the site. About half of the requested program could be placed in the existing structure. Here, her approach was that of freely placing objects in the space, in order not to disturb spatial qualities too much. For instance, a structure of very thin concrete divides the main hall in a library, exposition space and a collective living room (with fireplace and river running through). A smally allyway between different parts of the factory is turned into a lobby by use of a transparent roofing ß giving the complex a feeling of being inside outside and vice versa.

For the other half of the programme, that couldn't be placed in the existing structures, Bo Bardi erected two towers. In the biggest of the two towers (a rather plump looking one), four sporting halls are placed on top of eachother, with a swimming pool underneath. The smaller tower consists of changing rooms, cafetaria and smaller gymnasiums. The two towers are connected with various skybridges, making the two heavy concrete structures a bit more airy looking.

It is said that the centre is one of the most successful public places in the city. Continually, there are people from the area on the site, whether they are there with a specific goal or not. All kinds of people, from all kinds of social classes are mixed in the centre.

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