Completed in 1950 by Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi, Casa de Vidro in Sao Paulo was Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi’s home for 40 years and received its name because of its imposing glass facade, which seems to float with the columns’ structure.
Lina Bo Bardi’s Glass House Technical Information
- Architects: Lina Bo Bardi
- Typology: Residential Architecture / Houses
- Location: Morumbi, São Paulo, Brasil
- Project Year: 1950
- Material: Concrete, Glass
- Photographs: © Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre
Architecture and architectural freedom are above all a social issue that must be seen from inside a political structure, not from outside it– Lina Bo Bardi
Glass House Photographs
Glass House History
In 1951 Bo Bardi designed the “Casa de Vidro” (“Glass House”) to live with her husband in what was then the remnants of the Mata Atlantica, the original rain forest surrounding São Paulo. Located on a 7,000-square-metre plot of land, it was the first residence in the Morumbi neighborhood. The area is now the wealthy suburb of Morumbi, but a more domesticated version of the rain forest has since re-established itself around the house, concealing it from view.
The main part of the house is horizontal between thin reinforced concrete slabs with slender circular columns. The columns are pilotis, which allows the landscape to flow under the building. Inside, the main living area is almost completely open, except for a courtyard that allows the trees in the garden below to grow up into the house’s heart. There are zones allocated to different functions in the house- a dining room, a library, and a sitting area around the freestanding fireplace- but the forest views unify all through the glass. In theory, the glass panels slide horizontally, but there is no balcony to encourage people to go outside.
The living area is only half of the house. The other half sits on solid ground at the top of the hill, on the living room’s north side. A row of bedrooms faces a narrow courtyard, on the other side of which is the staff wing’s blank wall. Only the kitchen crosses the divide- a territory shared by servants and mistresses and equipped with a variety of well-designed labor-saving devices.
Mass production, which today should be taken into consideration as a basis for modern architecture, exists in Nature itself and, intuitively, in popular work.– Lina Bo Bardi
Glass House Floor Plan and Section
Glass House Image Gallery
About Lina Bo Bardi
Lina Bo Bardi was an Italian-born Brazilian Modernist architect, industrial designer, historic preservationist, journalist, and activist whose work defied conventional categorization. She designed daring idiosyncratic structures that merged Modernism with populism.
Though somewhat belatedly, Bo Bardi is recognized as one of the most prolific women architects of the 20th century. In 2012, the centennial of her birth, Bo Bardi’s career was celebrated with the launching of a limited-edition line of her bowl chair, a major traveling retrospective organized by the British Council in London, and the publication of a scholarly monograph that spans her life’s work.