Palestra de Angelo Bucci - Arq.Futuro SP 2012

Uploaded by ArqFuturoBrasil on 14.01.2013

We will now continue. I want to invite for the next lecture
a graduate from FAU-USP, the University of São Paulo's College
of Architecture and Urbanism,
where he got his Master and Doctorate.
He was visiting-professor
at institutions around the world,
such as Universidad Torcuato di Tella, in Argentina,
Andres Bello, in Chile,
University of Texas, Venice University,
California University and MIT, among others.
Bucci has taught at FAU-USP since 2001
and he is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects.
In 2008 he got the Holcim Award for Sustainable Architecture,
given by the Holcim Foundation, for PUC-Rio's media library.
He received the Young Generation Award
at the Buenos Aires International Architecture Bienalle, in 2009,
among others.
He runs the office SPBR Arquitetos, with projects in Brazil and abroad.
Please welcome Angelo Bucci.
Good morning.
I'd like to start by thanking Marisa,
and everyone in production for the invitation.
It's a huge pleasure to be here
and an honor to share the morning presentations
with Tod and Billie.
Of course I'll talk to you...
Of course I'll talk to you
like I'm talking to my colleagues at home.
I feel like the representative
of a group of people:
Ciro, João Paulo, Juliana, Newton,
Tatiana, and Vitor, who are the office, the team I play at,
and who are here. I should invite them to sit here.
And so many other friends, like Alvaro Puntoni, who is there,
who I've worked with often...
I'd like to start talking a bit
about São Paulo,
and I'll say why.
I'd like to start with this image.
They say we are what we are.
This isn't by us, it's not a project by the office.
But we also are what we couldn't be,
and that's very true for buildings.
For instance:
if this building where we are had been built
for the 400th anniversary of São Paulo,
that's what it would be.
It's very interesting, because it's the opposite
of the building we know.
I don't think it's better or worse,
it's just something else.
And after 50 years that amazing project proposed
by the same architect turned upside down.
But this kind of game
is very common in the designs of Oscar Niemeyer,
the domes of the Congresso Nacional building
also have these two situations,
and here he went from that to this,
and here we are.
Now, things that catch my attention
when we get to know and talk about the city,
like people looking in the city for elements to come together
in architectural projects.
So this is very subtle,
there are two 10-meter-diameter tunnels
built a while ago,
at about the same time as this auditorium.
But it actually started a little earlier.
This tunnel goes down here.
They come from Juscelino avenue,
this is actually the one coming from 23 de Maio to Juscelino,
and this one comes from Juscelino and takes a turn toward 23 de Maio.
Here we see how it works in the context.
This tunnel that comes and takes a turn toward 23 de Maio,
and this one coming from 23 de Maio toward 9 de Julho.
They're represented here.
But the interesting thing, I think,
is that this leg, in red,
is built, but wasn't opened.
So, if we ever come down here,
the wells where the tunnel was built
are marked.
There were two wells: one would be inside this space,
and the other one right outside the wall.
But if we go down here
there's a space with at least 10 meters in diameter,
at least 150-meters long,
which was completed, but never used.
And I don't wanna judge whether it's right or wrong,
but what I think is beautiful is that we can,
with this, do other things,
like… They weren't opened,
obviously, because 23 de Maio avenue toward the center is jammed,
and if this tunnel was opened the traffic would be jammed
until Avenida Juscelino Kubitschek. It would be a disaster,
it couldn't be opened. It would be a mistake to make it.
But it's something that is here and it doesn't matter anymore.
One day an artist might come here, for a Bienalle,
and make an expo inside the locked tunnel
that could never be opened.
There are things like this in buildings,
which we step on but can't see,
and I think they're very interesting
when you're drawing.
And the drawings, always,
what we see in the history of this auditorium
after 50 years,
and time is actually very compressed
at the time when we're drawing,
and you remake the history of things
during a short period.
I really liked when Tod and Billie said
that we should work with more time,
it made me feel more comfortable.
But you're always condensing and concentrating history.
So we talk about these things,
for instance, in this auditorium,
and when we go out in the city of São Paulo
they exist in such an exponent level,
you never finish discovering things.
I think it's very powerful,
'cause of course it's a city with all the elements
we can combine to create a project.
They can, like the tunnel,
be made to say the opposite of what we'd like to say
and what we end up saying, at another time.
But they're here,
and they combine differently and create other things.
Here, for instance, is also the park,
inaugurated in 1954,
its lakes were created from a stream
called the Sapateiro [Shoemaker] Stream,
and it was extremely polluted
because it came from the Vila Mariana slaughterhouse,
where they had all the leather production,
with all the chemistry used for it,
so it was a water that contained the remnants of that work.
And in the process of cleaning that extremely polluted stream
the lakes were created, the park,
and after 50 years we are still wondering
if it's possible to live with our rivers,
which are basically like gigantic Sapateiro streams.
So a place that's very dear to me...
Not to me, to us, I don't want to…
I just want to share things with you,
it's kind of an invitation for Tod and Billie
and their students who are here to come to the center
and get to know São Paulo.
But of course, Anhangabaú,
this place here, Parque Dom Pedro,
the historical hill where São Paulo was built.
Why there? If we look at Aziz Ab'Saber's drawings
and at the conditions
of when the city was founded, in 1554,
and the need they saw and believed
in of building the city at a protected site.
So naturally this 20-meters-high wall
separated the Tamanduateí Valley from this side,
and this 20-meters deep hill at Anhangabaú
made it a very protected site,
and a city that was almost naturally walled.
There are walls used today,
after we passed that moment,
we find incredible things like the walls of Venice,
a lagoon that can sink any boat,
or the one in Buenos Aires,
which is also an extremely shallow river.
And ours here were these two barriers,
and the Anhangabaú River, made up of these three rivers here,
which went down to a very narrow stream
which ran very fast,
and opened this throat on a plateau which was already there.
And what I find interesting about the geography
is that when we look at it there's a...
It wasn't my remote that did this.
Now I don't know where to point.
When we start to look at it
there's a story of the city
which reinforces a building culture that for us
has very particular meanings. For instance,
the original function of these two walls in both valleys,
this defense function,
made the city, at that time,
grow inward.
The houses and the constructions faced their backs to the rivers
and looked inside as if they were walled in.
There was a wall, but it didn't stick.
And the city was like this for three centuries almost.
We spent the 19th century
in a new paradigm and in need of expansion,
going from the historic center plateau to the new center,
it was very hard to go up.
For a hundred years,
we struggled with how to go up 20 meters,
get up to the other side, steep slopes and stuff like that.
And then they built the Viaduto do Chá bridge.
So thinking about the city's history,
of course, we have a cardinal geography,
but São Paulo is built…
And cardinal not only in the historic center,
there are over 50 rivers throughout the city,
it's repeated all over the city.
And we have a fundamental construction in São Paulo:
the bridge.
And the first bridge
is the one at the Viaduto do Chá.
And a sideline here,
just because I like telling this story.
Of course these barriers work for something
that has historically been with us,
and which we're always trying to overcome: social inequality.
São Paulo used natural barriers
to separate social groups.
What's interesting is that we love comparing São Paulo
to Rio de Janeiro,
and we always find we're the same.
But as far as this geography
goes everything that in São Paulo was pushed down the slopes,
into the lowlands,
was pushed up the hills in Rio.
So, from a social segregation
or social distribution point of view,
seen in side cuts,
São Paulo is Rio seen upside down.
It's verified.
But the barriers are alike,
just in opposite signs. It worked that way.
So.... I have to try and speed this up.
You know this engraving by an entrepreneur
who built the first bridge,
and what this viaduct became
a long time after that, in the 1920s,
with Anhangabaú as a park.
I wanted to comment
that when Le Corbusier was in Brazil
for the first time in America…
I'm supposed to be under the light,
and I'm fleeing from it because it gets in my way.
When Le Corbusier was in Brazil in 1929,
his first trip to South America,
he visited São Paulo. He came by plane
and saw this place.
He saw this bridge, the tram going over it
and the valley where the Anhangabaú stream was,
and he saw this park.
And he had seen something before,
about 10 years before Le Corbusier had gone to Turim
to visit the Fiat factory.
The Fiat factory in Turim is this building here,
which had a test track on the upper floor,
and it was inaugurated in 1918.
And if you put the two together
you can imagine what elements
Le Corbusier used in order to propose this project
for São Paulo:
two bridges with cars going over them, like he said,
buildings that weren't skyscrapers,
but landscrapers,
which went below the bridge down to the floor.
Then there are much more famous drawings.
Now, look at how this construction culture is forged.
In 1929 Le Corbusier was here
and proposed that project.
In the same year
Prestes Maia was making these drawings
for São Paulo.
So the Barcelona Pavillion was built,
Le Corbusier was here making his proposals,
these were the first,
he later proposed about the same thing in Rio de Janeiro,
and then the Obus Plan is much more elaborate,
with about the same elements.
And here, from 1929, published in 1930,
Prestes Maia's plan for the avenue,
which turns the Anhangabaú park
into this image,
with a very naïve representation,
still, as a park, but that park wasn't actually possible anymore
because of its premises,
because it turned the axe formed by Avenida Tiradentes,
Avenida 9 de Julho and Avenida 23 de Maio
into a system he called "Y",
with a nucleus at the city center.
It was impossible to keep the park.
And this in fact was put in place,
in many ways, and then was lost.
But these are two extremes,
I don't think they've ever spoken to each other,
but they find each other in time, in the same place,
with very distinct propositions.
I think, of course, that Prestes Maia is an admirable guy,
a dear teacher, mentioned by architects
such as Vilanova Artigas, with the utmost affection,
but we look at these drawings
and feel as though he crushed his technical judgment
with an aesthetic preconception.
Prestes Maia had a city model
he wanted to apply to São Paulo.
And his model at the time was Paris,
but a hundred years before.
So he saw our future as a Paris
of a hundred years before the 1940s.
The city to him was represented by this scheme,
but if we look at the plants with the rivers,
it's very similar to Vienna, Berlin,
the walled cities and so on.
And the new bridge being built.
I really wanted to show Tod and Billie this picture,
because the old bridge was here,
with the steel structure.
This bridge was inaugurated in the same year
as the Eiffel Tower,
made with the same kind of architecture,
which some historians call "architecture of engineers," so...
And this was crucial to São Paulo.
It was dismantled because it didn't fit
into Prestes Maia's aesthetic plan.
He says in his text that there was no reason
to replace the bridge,
other than he thought that those "cross-hatching of sticks"
as he called it, were horrible.
So it was dismantled
and a new one was built,
not Prestes Maia's project, but an excellent one
made a few years later by Elisiário Bahiana.
But for us to realize
how crucial the existence of the Viaduto do Chá was,
this picture documents the fact
that the new bridge had to be done next to the original one,
and they could only take the old one down
after the new one was ready,
because the city couldn't do without that passageway.
This is the drawing, you see a very important difference.
Elisário Bahiana's drawing,
but more like a bridge…
The concrete structure, it followed Prestes Maia's ideas,
but of course with a very different aesthetic refinement.
What is striking, when we walk through the center,
is that we are stuck in here,
like how when we walk on Rua Direita,
the height of the buildings means the view can only go upward.
So if we go on Viaduto do Chá,
it's so different from before that it is impressively striking.
I think this was when a theater group came to São Paulo,
the Strange Fruits, and did a presentation at Anhangabaú.
It's beautiful,
it's like we're crossing this void dream of Anhangabaú
through the air.
I think that's something…
That's what I think the Viaduto do Chá represents.
For 100 years the city faced something which was a defense
and turned into an obstacle,
and for 100 years the city dreamed
of crossing the void in Anhangabaú through the air.
Architecture does that kind of magic,
because we then cross trough that bridge,
so light, made of steel, in the air.
That's what we do today.
This play is a beautiful representation of that.
After many years,
the same place gets this project done by Vilanova Artigas,
and I wanted to show you the image
because it's much more faithful to the drawing of the rivers.
If you put one image over the other it's impressive.
Something that's clear
is that it's a very simple scheme.
I think architecture is usually very simple,
sophistication comes from other elements.
It's very simple:
traffic on foot is on one lane
and car traffic is on another.
Things like this were proposed since Leonardo da Vinci.
But this isn't a proposal,
it's a reading of what was done.
We won't take a huge detour here,
but I want to show two things.
This is a suggestion. From the Mercado Municipal,
if we walk, this street is the old Anhangabaú River bed,
the Anhangabaú Stream, and it goes here,
through Rua 25 de Março,
up Ladeira General Carneiro, Rua Boa Vista…
Rua Boa Vista is on the edge, like the stage border here,
that looks East onto a 20-meter-deep void.
The name Boa Vista refers to geography,
not constructions.
And then,
since the houses were all built facing backwards to the river,
with their back to the East,
the view was blinded.
That interests us,
because if we imagine that it's possible to look again,
the story changes.
That's how precarious the configuration of the passage
from the lower part of the city to the upper part is.
That bridge is Rua Boa Vista,
here we are at 25 de Março
and here is Ladeira General Carneiro.
When we cross Anhangabaú today,
with the project made by Jorge Willheim,
closing the whole valley with a slab,
like it's a very large walkway.
The architects are always figures of…
Jorge Wilheim is an extremely well-known and respected architect.
When we look at what happened during that period
it seems there was a nightmare haunting everyone,
which was that people were getting run over.
So it's amazing, we look at the projects in the competition,
and maybe 95%
had that huge walkway,
they closed it off with one slab.
Here too,
but it wasn't just one project,
it's like they were all tormented by that nightmare
and how to solve it.
But the result is a bit sad,
because there was a strength to this place
which was its two simultaneous scales:
the scale of a room, which we call Anhangabaú
and recognize it as a geographical mark,
and which is then enhanced by the buildings,
but also a metropolitan scale,
because it was a passageway
for all the road system.
So, as contradictory as it may seem,
it did work with two scales.
And the galleries which we see a lot in this part of the city,
which are various levels of the city.
So we then create an itinerary with four operations,
like suggestions,
but with the care of not becoming projects,
these four operations are about what we see,
how we see the transformation of the city.
And it's related to geography.
The historical hill is here,
so a first operation is clearing the view
from Rua Boa Vista,
overcoming those three centuries
during which we refused to relate
to what was on the other side of the rivers.
A second operation is how to go
from the lower part of the city to the upper part,
recognizing that São Paulo has an unusual ground thickness.
Here, when we talk about the city's ground,
we should always keep in mind
we're talking about a 20-meter thickness,
the city ground is five floors,
it's not less at any point.
Even if I'm at Avenida Paulista,
20 meters deep is the tunnel at Avenida 9 de Julho.
And between the two there's the subway.
So that's the situations,
20 meters high.
A third operation is very interesting,
but it's not deliberate,
it's only insinuated.
It's when the lower city,
let's call it lower city here and upper city here,
when the upper city advances over the lower city,
something we call "invading."
And there's a fourth,
which is when the lower city comes below the upper city,
which we call "infiltrating."
These things are suggestions,
but they could be explored to a bigger extent,
and I think that would have a great result,
because when we think about the population,
what happened to São Paulo...
For instance, the population watching the inauguration
of the Elisiário Bahiana viaduct in 1938 was 1 million,
and the population crossing the Viaduto do Chá in the 1980s,
50 years later, during the centennial of the first bridge,
was 1,5 million, going through the viaduct every day.
It's not like that today,
but clearly part of the degradation of the central area
is linked to this huge increase in density.
It's becoming more like a cortiço, like something...
And if we could stretch this land that isn't available anymore,
multiply the ground,
I think São Paulo would have amazing possibilities.
A long introduction,
which I had to do for Tod and Billie.
And, well, again,
this is an illustration.
São Paulo to me...
I came from Orlândia,
a 20-thousand people town,
and to come here to study architecture
in a city a thousand times larger,
I came to realize, over time, how much the city teaches us.
But I don't know if I would have realized this
without also realizing the value of a building like FAU,
designed by Vilanova Artigas, which teaches us a lot, I think.
And Vilanova Artigas liked to say to the students,
I never had the privilege of meeting him,
that we should be able to draw cities like houses,
and houses like cities.
And I think this picture is a great illustration
to that phrase,
when we put the two together.
And here, our architecture school,
which is a very special building.
And a special building for architects in São Paulo,
because this,
if I were to describe it to my friends,
is our Parthenon.
I think, today, this is our temple.
And it has its figures, its gods, almost.
A school created
with the joining of two schools,
the engineering
and the philosophy school.
So, of course, one of these figures is, without a doubt,
Vilanova Artigas.
But I like to think, and I apologize,
because this is kind of an intimate conversation,
that there are two other figures personifying those two worlds
that meet in architecture.
always, in the word architecture, are those two joined worlds,
the human sciences and the natural sciences.
They are Paulo Mendes da Rocha
and Flávio Motta.
We see these people living here.
But FAU,
this building, isn't interesting,
I don't mean that it's essential to architecture
as a model or something to achieve.
Not like that. I think it's useful
on a daily basis, when you're not worried about it,
but committed to drawing.
It's a building that offers answers
to a lot of the things we're thinking.
For instance,
this is a 66-meter-wide and 110-meter-long building,
and everyone knows these measurements.
Because this span is 22 meters, each module is 2,75,
the whole ceiling is light,
made up of 2,75-meter squares.
If I want to know
what an 11-meter-long space is,
I go from that wall to here and measure it.
If I want to know what a 4-meter height is,
I come here; 6 meters,
I come here; 12 meters,
I come here -not 12, 16 meters here...
So these are practical answers,
they're close to us.
And after some time living there,
I, who never knew Vilanova Artigas,
feel today as if he was my teacher.
I think it's a beautiful thing this building,
and some buildings,
which you build as if they're full of humanity,
in a time when we see the opposite,
people emptying themselves of it
and becoming things.
So if we were to populate the city
with buildings like this,
it would be better.
Here is an amazing expo, made by Alexandre Delijaicovic,
with the city's rivers imprinted here
at the Caramelo Salon, an incredible project.
Here it's not FAU,
but the office where I work for them,
the gang there...
But here is our day to day.
I'll do something,
I'll go through some competitions
that I'd like to show, very quickly.
I always plan on talking fast,
but it's hard, I'm from Orlândia.
This is one we had fun doing.
We got an invitation for a competition
for the Vitra Museum.
But the letter got lost at the office,
I was out of the country,
and at the last day we saw it and said: let's do it.
We were supposed to do a very quick suggestion for a house,
in our case, a Brazilian house.
So here, again,
I could talk about FAU, but the Brazilian house we imagined
was like a prism,
opened here and in the back.
It's a house that doesn't close,
that harbors people from rain and sun,
but can have the same air inside and out,
like in Bahia, you're always very comfortable.
So we did this.
And then there's a house, like a bigger house.
A third one,
melted into the other,
and then there's a disturbing game,
because this one, when you go in,
there's something crossing through there,
completely locked.
Because outside is inside,
but if you go into that thing which is completely closed
you go out again.
So the game we set up was this,
and we could associate a number of houses horizontally
or vertically.
Of course it wasn't even noticed.
But not to us.
And then, after a while,
we got the chance to do another competition,
and in the middle there's a competition
we entered with Álvaro, for USP,
which was kind of the same idea.
And then here, PUC,
the media library at PUC, Rio de Janeiro,
a competition where our idea was noticed,
we won it at the end of 2006
and have been working hard
to gather funds to build it ever since,
through the Lei de Incentivo à Cultura.
It was approved by Lei Rouanet with 100% fiscal exemption,
it's a project that's had an independent path.
But there was this same principle.
The building is opened to the North and South facades,
and we decided to close the ones most punished by the sun,
the East and the West, for temperature control.
The building was illuminated by these two sheds,
and we made it like a natural light lantern,
like a porch put inside,
with glass here, glass here,
white floors, white ceilings,
which during the day got a lot of light into the darkest part
of the building.
It was a structure built in steel lattice,
with two supports, 45 meters apart,
15 meters cantilever, 30 meters on the other side.
This building here.
Closed with a white steel pane.
This is PUC's main building,
but they maintain these houses here,
where the student communities are.
And the building has a relation to that building's columns,
where the entrance was through the elevated ground here,
but at the same level as the columns.
If we walk toward here, this building is 100 meters long,
and it reaches the ground again.
And here we are at this height elevation, at this point,
and at the ground in front.
This building has a basement for the book collection,
which hasn't free access,
a scale reporting back to these houses,
and also a scale reporting to that building over there.
So the access, I have to be quick.
I'll comment on one thing:
the book collection down there
is like an enclosed aquarium,
circled by administrative offices,
restoration and such, of the library.
These are internal services working on commercial hours,
not linked to the public hours.
So we circled the collection this way,
thus lowering the internal temperature,
and making temperature and humidity control
at the collection area,
which had to be maintained 24 hours a day, much easier.
So this is the space, the library has a triple height,
that natural light lantern in there.
There's a way for that façade to work as chimney,
taking out air and things like that.
Images of the model.
This is a contest for Caracas, Venezuela,
for the headquarters of CAF,
the Andean Foment Commission,
a land that's a square
150-meter wide facing North,
so a building also suffering
from the East and West sun.
So we built a central structure,
two structural groups gathering here,
like a dilatation joint.
All the elevators, stairs, toilets
are contained in this nucleus,
and the building creates peripheral work spaces,
closed by these pleated walls.
This is a drawing we always like to see,
the calculation of the slab structure.
At first it seemed really hard,
but then the arithmetician got excited
because it was simple,
and we made this.
Another competition.
I'll try to show something that was built,
or almost.
A finished church in Mexico.
It was a church in the town of Culiacán,
with the subject of Nativity.
So we built the church on three elements,
as a representation of this trinity.
And the form looks free,
but these walls are identical,
and each of them is supported by two points,
and each point has a distance of 20 meters.
So from here to here are 20 meters,
20 meters, 20 meters, and 20 meters.
These are the South,
East, and West facades.
So the church is protected, and it sits on top of a hill.
That drawing has to be shown,
otherwise we see the church's main floor plans
but without seeing how it's generated.
This is the nave plan, and the walls don't show,
because they come from the ground to this height,
kind of elevated,
but you see the light coming from the water
and circling all of this.
Culiacán has an almost desert-like climate,
crazy heat,
so there are big things to put in for temperature control.
And the church is on top of a hill,
you need to climb 8 meters just to get to the nave.
And there's nothing else, just the church.
The parking lot and all support functions are below,
the city is below.
And we explored the hill
on every level, like cave buildings.
So this is a class area,
for meetings,
connected to the crypt,
a little chapel connected to the altar,
this is connected to the salon...
And further down are the parking lots,
a tunnel connected to the avenue,
the lane to the other side,
the public elevators going up to the square
and to the churchyard...
That's how it's set up.
The structure is like a box for torsion angles,
and it's also supported on just those six points,
so the church also explores what's underground.
It's something relatable,
the images we put in that tunnel,
they're like the images on the catacombs.
But I feel this is very related
to my experience in São Paulo, with caves and things like that.
And this.
A very interesting competition. There was an amazing jury,
but there was never a decision.
We're waiting for a miracle here.
This is another very cool
and well-organized competition,
which we were honored to participate in,
which is for the Moreira Salles Museum, at Avenida Paulista.
We made a proposal
always trying to consider
the relationships in the city.
And at the same time
the challenges that were given by the extension of the program
and the lot dimensions.
A museum where the natural light had to be completely controlled,
because in most exhibitions you don't use natural light
due to problems in preserving the collection and such.
So we made here a very risky decision,
in a way, which made a lot of sense to us,
which was putting the whole mechanical part
in the front and back of the building,
because that's what would give us the biggest width
and more generous dimensions for the exhibition room.
So we would have exhibition rooms
32 meters large
and 14 meters wide.
And the elevation, which is sometimes
a very simple drawing,
we like to show it in this case,
because it shows the whole project.
The exhibition is here,
the museum offices are there.
This is for research and classes.
Down here is the entry and parking.
So there's this cut here.
And exhibition spaces then get the biggest width possible.
This has a complicated context,
these contention walls
have to be approved by the subway,
there's a series of dialogues to be conducted.
The floor plan with the machines here,
about 50% of the façade open to the street.
A free square accessible through here,
this space,
where all accesses are: museum,
research and teaching,
and here the museum shop,
reception area, café and amenities.
I go through plans very quickly,
But the exhibition room,
this is light,
this is light, this is light…
All zenithal.
With that we had the program distribution
and the façade,
which was the expression of these machines
that made the building possible.
Always plates of steel, sometimes perforated,
sometimes not, depending on what the machine needed.
Each of these slots had a function,
so this block,
of course, would be a concrete wall,
a very simple construction,
with this concrete wall receiving the concrete later,
so this is the slot where the concrete would be cast.
That slot loosens the offices and allows us
to create little variations of the wall plan
lighting what's on the upper part.
Here is facing the street,
a LED panel for projections.
And some other images.
But, you know, this competition was brilliantly won
by my dear friends Vinicius and Marcelo.
Competitions are to us
one of the most important institutions
in architecture,
because they are like dialogue fields that can't be replaced.
They are the equivalent o congresses
in other professional areas.
With them we speak in very beneficial ways,
which is very beneficial to what comes after.
The exhibition space, with a double height,
which would repeat itself three times. That's it.
So I wanted to show you, finally,
I had a few constructed projects,
for you to believe we actually build some things,
but I'll show something which is being built,
and I'll try to speak faster.
It's something very special to us.
This is a photo...
This is Faria Lima avenue, this is Shopping Iguatemi mall.
taken from the top of a building,
and we want to focus on this spot here.
It's an interesting picture
that describes what happens.
You can see this is surrounded
by high buildings,
but there's a protected area,
here is Marginal Pinheiros,
where the maximum height for constructions is 6 meters.
And about a year or two ago
I got a very nice e-mail
saying they saw our things on our website and liked it a lot,
and they had a project which might not be for us,
because it was very small, a pool.
Just a pool.
And I'm always interested,
I get excited.
So I offered to talk.
We set up a first meeting
and it was very interesting,
because it wasn't really a pool,
like a pool in a house.
It was a project that went into the opposite direction of the city.
It was for a couple who lives in an apartment
and wants to stay there,
but who didn't want to face the traffic every weekend
to get out of São Paulo. We are stuck here with 20 million people,
and comes the weekend, we all get the same idea,
we all go to the beach.
So the project was in the opposite direction,
which is always interesting.
A 10 by 25 lot,
with a program for a pool and a garden,
And how do you build a pool and a garden,
which are the accessory programs of a house,
without making it into an abandoned backyard or something?
Without it being melancholic,
in a sense, more abandoned then used?
How do you take life from such a program
without it being too ordinary?
But it's also beautiful, because it was a bucolic program.
Something that I really liked was that we talked about it
and no one knew the name of it.
So, pool isn't the best name.
But is it a weekend house in São Paulo?
A small urban farm? How do we call it?
And we don't really know the name of it.
We know how it will be,
but the name is something we're still thinking about.
And the name of things
is sometimes a very driving definition.
So to come up with something without a name
is always a beautiful thing.
And the place, with this almost bucolic program,
couldn't be more urban,
it's located in between Faria Lima and Marginal,
on the route of planes approaching the Congonhas airport.
Flights to Rio de Janeiro pass through here
at 1,000 meters height.
We are exactly at this spot.
It's one plane after the other,
1,000 meters high,
you can almost befriend the pilots,
since they'll see you so often…
And this is where the project is positioned,
which for us is also special,
because our office is right here.
And our experience has always been, at first…
I liked to joke a lot that we were interior architects,
because no one asked us to do anything in the capital,
it was always Orlândia, Ribeirão Preto…
But this condition,
which I find contradictory,
but that's how it works,
ended up bringing us closer to the constructions.
I mean, because we were far away,
the drawings needed to be effective.
And we kind of measured how that worked a bit.
So working far away was what brought us closer
to a construction site.
And in this case it was the opposite,
because we could go there every day,
in a 10-minute walk.
And to my luck
at the first meeting
they came with this drawing:
the pool,
a solarium,
and a little divided apartment,
with an area for a person to live in and take care
of this urban lot,
and an apartment for eventually staying overnight.
But we were worried that his neighbor,
who has a West façade, is 6-meters-high.
This neighbor, with an East façade, is 6-meters-high.
So the pool was there,
but one neighbor would cast a shadow all morning
and the other one all afternoon.
How can we solve that?
There was something about measuring it
a bit over there, a bit over here,
but always deciding whether to have the sun
between 11:30 am and 1:30pm
or between 10:30am and 12:30pm,
because the shadow moves from one side to the other.
I'm always proud to think that the specificity
of what we do isn't having an idea,
it's knowing how to build.
We need to...
Of course the idea is part of the process,
but it lacks the specificity
of what we do.
And I found the whole thing amazing:
the program, how it was set up,
the fact that it was small...
I never told them that it was the most important project
in the office.
And so I said: let's do it like this, that's great.
But instead of moving the pool to one side or the other,
we moved it up a bit. How much?
6 meters. Why?
It's the surface.
6 meters is the ground elevation.
Not the earth,
but the place's surface is given
by the construction's maximum height.
When you go up 6 meters you're at the Jockey Club,
the wall of buildings at Faria Lima avenue,
it's something else.
And down there, because we're in Brazil,
we built in a way in which the light
crossed through everything that was built up,
and there will be lots of gardens, because it will grow down here.
There's a lot of natural light.
So we did that.
The drawing, with a ruler, is there,
but it's more or less the same thing.
The pool tank and a beach are 6 meters high.
This is a ramp looking North,
a stair, a plateau, the water elevation,
and here coming to the elevation at the back of the pool.
The floor plan to the apartment.
Here is the caretaker's house,
with its own entrance,
and a little apartment with its own garden
and an access here,
through the bigger garden down there.
Now, a tank built 6 meters high...
It's interesting how we incorporate things,
because building a 6-meters-high pool
causes certain concerns,
but a water supply tank at that height is normal.
So if I said - I didn't, but if I said:
let's swim at the water tank, it'd be fine,
because we're used to seeing it built that way.
But with this tank up here,
the machines, of course, are down here.
And since these were the pool and the garden,
we make the water go around,
it falls from the two edges of the superior tank
into the water pool here,
and finally returns upward.
That's how it works.
The section to how we did it.
So these are the houses' ceilings, the ground level.
One building counterbalances the other.
They're supported by two columns
with a 12-meter space.
The pool is 17-meters-long.
This is the apartment's ceiling, with the beach,
the two solariums, the stairs...
The model, done by Nilton Suenaga,
who does it impressively well.
And the construction photos here.
You can't really see it,
but it's just to show that we are there,
with the structure all ready,
and working on the finishing
so that it can be ready soon.
So, for instance,
in the void between the tank and the solarium
are all the accesses,
with a bathroom here in the middle floor,
and with a very transparent stair,
always thinking about the light for the garden down there.
The construction,
this is to show you
the building wall there.
The tank filled with water.
And that's it. Thank you.
Before we go on, an announcement.
There are people looking for tickets
for Alejandro Aravena's lecture,
which is sold out. But we're opening a waiting list,
so you can leave your name, we'll count
and there will be tickets available.
A special thanks to Angelo
for this interesting presentation,
and I will now ask Billie Tsein
and Tod Williams to join us.
And I'll invite as mediators Karen Stein
and André Corrêa do Lago.
Karen Stein is a writer and architectural consultant,
teacher at the New York School of Visual Arts'
Design Criticism program,
and executive director for the George Nelson Foundation.
She was a member of the Pritzker Prize jury
and is currently a member of The Architectural League
of New York. She is also a member of the Arq.Futuro council.
Karen Stein, please.
Diplomat, economist, and architecture critic,
André Correa do Lago is the director of the Department
of Environment and Special Themes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
a member of the Architecture and Design Committee
at MoMA, New York, of the Oscar Niemeyer Foundation
and of Arq.Futuro. André, please.
I'll start.
I have to welcome you,
who gave such interesting presentations.
Good afternoon, everyone.
I think what was interesting about this morning
is first the extraordinary contrast between the two presentations.
It was very nice of Angelo
to want to explain São Paulo
to Tod and Billie,
and I thank you because I'm from Rio, so I also enjoyed it.
But the contrast between the two presentations,
deep down, shows us something which I think is one
of the most important things Arq.Futuro can do,
which is show us that there are completely different ways
of doing good architecture.
That there are completely different ways
of solving similar problems,
and of course there are many ways of not solving problems,
which we unfortunately see in every city in the world.
But this issue of the quality of architecture
I think is the main thing for us to discuss,
because of this amazing contrast between you.
So I wanted to start
with an exercise I tried to do,
of bringing the two presentations closer together.
And deep down exploring this issue of quality
and the concept of quality
that is extremely different for you, Angelo, and the other two.
So I would start by taking
these two museums you designed:
the Folk Art from you
and Angelo's IMS project,
because they somehow explore the same situation
of extremely difficult sites,
of extremely limited sites,
with very limited possibilities,
and the search for such different solutions.
And the second thing I'd like to say
is that I think Tod and Billie gave an extraordinary lesson
on materials and the variety of materials.
The steel at Folk,
the Indian stone in India,
the abandoned marble in the North of the United States.
I wanted you to explore this contrast between you,
because I think that we Brazilians
have a much more linear view of architecture,
and I think your talk will be a lot more interesting
than my contribution.
Karen's will obviously be very interesting,
but I think you can talk about that,
about searching for such different paths for similar solutions.
I wasn't sitting on this microphone,
it needs to be clarified...
You know,
something I always imagine,
that we talk about,
is sometimes architecture is very generous
at the entrance points,
at how you enter the subject.
And it doesn't matter how.
Of course a cultural context sometimes
has some different flavors and characteristics.
But when you finish a building
and analyze it strictly looking at the construction,
if I take a drawing, a transversal section,
a floor plan,
how a building works,
a part, how long it stands for…
You can compare it in a similar way.
I mean, at the end line,
architecture really converses.
It brings together different cultural contexts
and different historical eras, too.
I'm very happy about Billie's comment,
because I also feel that way.
I had the opportunity of visiting their office once,
very briefly,
and something that impressed me
and that we saw here with a picture of the office,
was the number of models on the walls.
And I think Tod mentioned to me
that they had a workshop on the bottom floor
for making the models, that they made it there,
and all the materials there,
the choices, this kind of tactile perception,
sensorial, I find that very interesting.
And of course works like the ones they showed,
the Folk Museum, the Barnes Collection,
have an elegance
in the advance of this research
which is wonderful.
I think often our context
comes in rehearsed,
with certain care,
of what we want to get at.
And of course contextually, also,
perhaps the issue of structure,
of how in Brazil architecture was forged by a close relationship
between arithmeticians and architects,
it’s still a very flowing dialogue,
but I think we’re losing it.
It’s like we share this very rich vocabulary
to understand each other.
But I really identify
with the projects they showed.
Now, relationships have implications.
I don’t think it’s in the essence,
but a Brazilian architect never needs to hear
about thermal bridge.
Of course when I say we can have the same air
inside the building and out,
there are implications in the way we think,
that are characteristic of the place.
your question about whether I can compare Moreira Salles
and the Folk Museum…
the façade is the same.
Right? A steel façade,
wonderful, we should use the same plate here,
it would make everything easier.
But obviously the situation there was a lot more severe
thinking about the site’s width,
but on the other hand, you’re right,
and this is similar, the program here was more extensive.
So that might end up balancing it out a bit.
But a wonderful thing about the museum is:
how to build a museum in a space that is almost a canyon,
tucked in the middle of two buildings.
But I like to think
we have different precedence,
but we share something
that brings us close,
which is the activity of architecture.
It’s drawing buildings, how the construction is done,
with which materials… So, if we sit here and talk,
we speak the same language,
it’s very simple for us to understand each other,
because we are architects who every day are thinking about
how to do a building.
And that’s what makes us close.
You’re being very diplomatic about this,
so I’ll be more, let’s say, to the point.
When Tod and Billie’s presentation ended,
I ran into several people outside,
and several people said the same thing:
it’s a kind of architecture that can’t be done in Brazil,
a kind of architecture that doesn’t exist in Brazil.
So I stand by what I said in the beginning:
what you have in common, really, is the quality of the architecture.
You have, conceptually, an extraordinarily consistent
and quality architecture.
But as you said yourself, Angelo, you have this view of structure,
the importance of structure.
And you saw, for instance,
that they dedicated themselves largely, in their presentation,
to the issue of finishing and materials.
So if I may insist with this provocation:
why are these two architecture perceived by the public,
by a group of Brazilians, as something
with a very striking visual contrast.
Conceptually I agree,
they’re both very close in the way they solve problems cleverly.
But I want to explore these contrasts a bit.
Yes, I get that...
There’re two questions.
I’m not going to answer André directly,
but I will make a note of how flattered I feel
about being called diplomatic by a diplomat.
I’m just an architect.
But collaboration in a project
is done, obviously,
with the client,
if they’re asking for a project,
it’s a first collaboration.
And of course inside our work group,
the architectural team,
there’s collaboration.
I always think the way we develop a project
is a succession of dialogue circles.
At first I talk more directly
with the person who comes and asks for a job.
Right after that we talk at the office,
a different circle.
Then is the structural arithmetician,
then projects and installations,
then builders…
So you amplify this dialogue circle,
and one way, for instance, to see what is an architectural project
is to record those talks.
That's very true,
because if I take a drawing I can describe,
by looking at it, each conversation I had.
Any architect does that.
And if you know a little about architecture
you can read a lot of these conversations in the buildings.
Now, the collaborations,
the leaderships,
I think, of course, there's collaboration with leadership.
And I can, at times, have the role as a leader,
because there are moment when it's up to you to say yes
to one thing or another.
But I don't necessarily see it like that,
because that leadership changes hands during the process.
If I'm talking to an arithmetician about the structure,
even if I have architectural priorities,
the leadership in that conversation is with other people.
There are lots of aspects in the same project
and sometimes inside the group
I don't necessarily have leadership.
But something seems essential to me:
the balance inside this team during the process,
because it's very easy to get to the end
not knowing why you started it that way.
So having your criteria clear
and trying to reveal it throughout the process
is a very exhausting work of collaboration.
if I may try to respond to André,
I wouldn't have that same certainness
I don't know what projects can or can't be done in São Paulo.
If I look around, anything can be done here,
and a project with that quality would be a luxury.
Now, of course architecture
is partly determined by a context,
a set of circumstances, the infrastructure.
You have to have…
Stones in India are stones in India.
But you need people to work,
you can only do a building
by summoning what's available here.
And that is one thing.
Maybe we can imagine why structure gained
such relevance in Brazilian architecture.
I think that was a period,
I think it's almost over.
But a more committed answer
to that question
would be to say that structure,
in a building, is one of the most reliable pieces.
It's what gets done before the building is finished
and what stands after it's destroyed.
That's not a little thing.
Where do you put your effort in a job?
In the pieces you trust the most.
And maybe a little about this history and trajectory
reveals to us that this is an interesting path.
Structure is the one piece of a building
that can't be modified.
During the whole construction process,
everyone that comes in has an opinion and suggestions,
whether they're welcome or not.
But a few do about structure.
Structure is a piece that you fine tune,
it takes tremendous effort,
not only for the arithmetician.
It's an accomplishment,
and working in such an uncertain context,
that's something.
But I think this is a more committed answer,
let's say, but there are others.
For instance,
if I'm building anywhere almost in Brazil with concrete
I can find beam companies, concrete manufacturers…
It was a decision made during the 1950s in the country
that has generated an outcome.
So it's a path where you have the support
of construction companies in Brazil,
that's about the context.
And there's a culture that forms,
as I was saying about the city.
It's beautiful, for instance, the tradition of arts and crafts
in the United States.
Something I find wonderful, which we always fight,
is the feet and inches system,
which is wonderful for wood and stone work.
To come up with a module
that can be divided by 2, 3 or 4
is worthy of envy, you know,
because it makes it easier
for woodworkers and metalworkers
and people who work with these measurements.
To realize that 4 feet or 4 inches
are two interesting and related modules...
There's a tradition with these works,
which is what is available for the architect to work with.
These resources can be chosen up to a certain point,
but I think the correct thing is knowing how to work
with the resources you have,
it's the best thing we can do.
So that was a long answer.
What's interesting about Angelo's answer,
which I think was perfect,
is when you say there's a tradition in Brazilian architecture,
given by the lack of other resources.
You reminded by of a quote by Saarinen that I like a lot,
when he was watching the TWA Terminal, in New York,
being built, he looked at the structure and said:
"It's going to be a beautiful ruin."
You are making absolutely lovely pre-ruins,
the house in Carapicuíba will be an extraordinary ruin,
this pool in São Paulo will be an extraordinary ruin...
But I want to go back a little, actually,
it's funny because a lot of the questions coming in
are about this issue of materials.
You made a comment which I think we could explore.
At a certain time, when you were talking about São Paulo,
you spoke of the opposition between technical judgment
and aesthetic prejudice.
Do you think, as a lot of people do,
that there is a prejudice in Brazilian architecture
in regards to certain luxury materials,
because these more luxurious materials are associated
with bad architectural projects?
I think this is a very interesting link to Tod and Billie,
because they use wonderful materials in good architecture,
and in Brazil the most beautiful materials are used
to cover up bad architecture or to make standard architecture.
If there's prejudice against material
I would say is a side topic.
But evidently materials are loaded with meaning.
So if I coat a work
with the rarest marble it indicates something,
depending on how the common sense sees it,
which I think is very important to what we do.
But the way to do this…
What criteria do you use for this selection?
To me, the one criteria that doesn't lie is construction
Now, construction has all kinds of variables and aspects:
the timeframe for construction has to be accorded,
if I think of a hospital in the war,
it will be a tent, not Einstein [a luxurious hospital in São Paulo]
I can't build a hospital on a battle field.
It doesn't work, it's not better, it's worse.
So there are things that need to be seen in a context.
The problem with prejudice,
which I was talking about with Prestes Maia's proposal,
is impressive to me,
because he was an illustrious engineering professor,
a guy who knew all technical aspects very well.
And I think he was betrayed by his aesthetic model.
I, it needs to be said, am not an expert in the city,
I’m an architect who finds in the city the answers
to what we do every day,
but I get the impression that Prestes Maia,
who was such a successful men,
mayor of São Paulo twice,
implemented a lot of the things he wanted to,
I think he failed himself
in what mattered the most to him,
because he could never give São Paulo the aspect
he thought was appropriate,
even though he did so much.
But, in fact,
if the aesthetic notion is hostage to a model,
it loses its value.
It’s amazing that when we talk about architecture
and city the word doesn’t come up more often,
because what would be the other criteria
that would give us the means
to look at the whole city and all that it does?
It’s that aesthetic notion that also allows us
to establish relations between what’s done in New York,
in India, in São Paulo…
The world seeing in that way tends to find unity.
And things are all related, it’s a change here…
So maybe Prestes Maia saying “aesthetic prejudice”
is using the word “aesthetic” in the wrong way.
But I just wanted to make that clear.
I have... I’m sorry, André, I always flee
from your questions a bit. I’ll try to answer.
You always…
We might use the same programs,
basically the same materials…
In what’s essential we use the same materials.
Some specificities are very characteristic,
such as the way you build a wall in a place
where temperature drops below zero,
which is different, so it doesn’t condense.
So there’s a whole other way of building.
The way you build a window in a place
where the temperature drops below zero is different.
These are not differences in quality.
There’s also a technical information:
is there a negative temperature or isn’t there?
If there is a negative temperature
you have to change the way you make it,
otherwise the building won’t work.
We’ve been having some experiences
designing things abroad,
and there aren’t lots of difficulties in the way
we conduct a project.
But of course, if we’re building
in a place where there’s snow,
the way we do it is completely different.
Now, when we think about technology,
the machines used by the industry are also basically the same.
The problem with construction is that there’s something
we sometimes forget to take into account, which is:
I have to go into a local construction material shop
and find things there, otherwise…
I can’t use it.
If it’s not an equally spread resource,
its use will be very restricted.
So architecture also depends on this dialogue
and what’s spread out in that context.
That’s a little different.
Something else I find noteworthy
is that when we talk about authorship
and things like that,
it’s as if architecture works with a freedom
that isn’t real in what we do.
We work with a very limited space
for this expression of personality.
Everything is coded,
the construction has norms and rules,
the space you have for alterations and suggestions
is strictly controlled.
So if you have an American context,
the insurance companies’ action
on the architectural result is huge.
Things that we barely consider.
I think that tends to level out.
In Brazil it’s becoming more and more common to work
with civil responsibility insurance,
and these things interfere with the drawing,
they change the scope of possibilities
for authorship of a group of people or a person.
These spaces tend to be reduced.
And there’s a relationship between what we call…
It’s not about the author,
because the issue of authorship also has multiple scales.
A design table is one thing,
but a city is a bit weird.
I think living in that São Paulo
designed by Le Corbusier
would entail a scale of authorship that may not be appropriate.
The city is a reunion of a lot of people.
But spaces for that expression of personality
are fewer and fewer, I think.
Ok. Unfortunately we have a big time constraint.
Karen, maybe you’d like to end with a final comment.
Thank you very much.