The Casa de Vidro, also known as the Glass House, is a landmark of modernist architecture located in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Designed by renowned Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1950, the house served as her and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi’s home for four decades. The name of the house is derived from its striking glass facade, which gives the illusion of floating due to its minimalist column structure. With its innovative design, the Casa de Vidro continues to be a symbol of Lina Bo Bardi’s avant-garde architectural style and is considered one of the most important works of modern architecture in Brazil.
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
The Legacy of the Iconic Glass House
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 will enable 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 a multifaceted personality who left an indelible mark on the world of architecture with her unique and groundbreaking designs. She was an Italian-born Brazilian Modernist architect and a pioneer in blending Modernism with populism. Bo Bardi’s works challenged conventional categorization, and her style can be defined as daring and idiosyncratic.
Bo Bardi’s immense talent was finally acknowledged in 2012 when she was celebrated on the occasion of her centennial birth anniversary. The celebration included the launch of a limited-edition line of her iconic bowl chair, a major traveling retrospective organized by the British Council in London, and the publication of a comprehensive monograph that captured her life’s work and contributions to the world of architecture. Today, she is recognized as one of the most influential and prolific women architects of the 20th century.
- Lina Bo Bardi: Glass House / Casa de vidro, 1950-1951 by Lina Bardi