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The Political Dimension of Lina Bo Bardi’s Architectural Oeuvre

by Flávia Dourado - published Nov 13, 2014 01:20 PM - - last modified Nov 19, 2014 02:17 PM
Rights: Carlos Malferrari (translator)

Lina Bo Bardi

The Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi

Poetics in Lina Bardi: A Political Grammar is the theme of the seminar that IEA’s Environmental Policy Research Group will hold on November 25, from 10 am to 5 pm, in the Events Room of the Institute, celebrating the birth centenary of the Italian-Brazilian architect.

The meeting will discuss the political dimension of the work of the architect who designed the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) and SESC Pompeia, focusing on her ideological commitment to popular culture and on the revolutionary character of her ideas as an intellectual of the Brazilian ethos. The lecturers will discuss particularly the ramifications of her thought, the influence of which extends to this today.

Bardi emigrated to Brazil in 1946 and, according to Eda Tassara, the group’s coordinator and a professor at USP’s Institute of Psychology, she was confronted with a world still heavily rooted in its colonial past, which made her deeply aware of its cultural Eurocentrism and propelled her to become a forerunner of what was to become Postcolonial Criticism.

“Initially developed mainly by Latin American thinkers, this movement expanded to other groups of intellectuals coming from Mestizo or Creole societies, or societies still under colonial yoke.”

For Tassara, it would be reductionist to attribute the epithet “political architecture” to Lina’s oeuvre. “It is Lina’s poetics that should earn the adjective ‘political’. It was what she sought to represent, whatever the material universe she might be dedicating herself to. And she dedicated herself to the Brazilian ethos,

The São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), arguably Bardi’s greatest architectural legacyi

The lecturers will address different facets of Bardi, based on the following reflections:

  • Polyphonic Lina: A European Adrift in the World of the Tropics – Massimo Canevacci
  • Intellectual Lina: A Critique of the Colonial Character of Power – Eda Tassara
  • Architect Lina: Space and the People in the Brazilian Ethos – José Oswaldo de Oliveira, Cilene Gomes and Márcia Augusto Ribeiro
  • Narrator Lina: Hope in Architectural Design and Utopia – Cristina Pontes Bonfiglioli
  • Poet Lina: Magic Lantern in the Emptiness of a Pool – Marcello G. Tassara
  • Dreamer Lina: Geopolitical Imagination and Miscegenation – Sandra Maria Patrício Ribeiro
  • Persona Lina: A Kaleidoscope – Maureen Bisilliat


The seminar happens on the same day as the encounter Conversazioni e Video su Lina Bo Bardi at the Università La Sapienza di Roma, Rome, Italy. The Italian event is part of the cycle Lina Bo Bardi (1914-2014) – un’Architetta Romana in Brasile, organized by the university’s Department of Architecture and Design, also in celebration of Bardi’s birth centenary.

From noon to 1 pm, the lecturers from the Brazilian and the Italian events will debate via teleconference, moderated by architect Alessandra Criconia, member of the cycle’s scientific committee, in Rome, and by Eda Tassara, in São Paulo.

The event will be broadcast live on the web.

Photos: Olney Kuse (top) and Benjamin Thompson.