Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

© Iñigo Bujedo Aguirre

The Oficina Teatro (Theater office) was designed by Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi in São Paulo in 1984. The renovation of the historic and previously burned office building into a theater was conceived almost entirely as a painted scaffolding, referencing the construction of the sets housed in the venue. Teatro Oficina has challenging sightlines, hard seats and is very much not the shape theatres are meant to be, but it is all the more intense for that.

Teatro Oficina Technical Information

Architecture is created, ‘invented anew,’ by each man who attempts her, who roams her space, climbs a stair, rests on a balustrade, lifts his head to look, open, close a door, who sits down or gets up and makes intimate contact with – and at the same time create ‘forms’ in – the space […]

This intimate, fiery, contact, that which was perceived by man at the beginning, is today forgotten. Routine and communal places made man forget the natural beauty of “moving in space,” of his conscious movement, of those little gestures…

– Lina Bo Bardi

Teatro Oficina by Lina Bo Bardi Photographs
Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

© Nelson Kon

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

Aerial View

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

Theater Interior

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

Rear Facade of the Theater

Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

Theater Rear Opening

Teatro Oficina description

Teatro Oficina was a restoration project run by the Oficina Teatre Company in Bexiga, Sao Paulo. Formerly, this was a working-class neighborhood with an enormous Italian population. Within the 1980s, it became one of the most diverse and cultural areas of the city. The theatre burned in 1966, and the rest of the brick shell was used as a people’s theatre.

The building is 9 meters large and 50 meters long. The idea was to create a long, narrow, street-like space in a former theatre’s burned-out shell. Built to serve the orgiastic performances of the theatre’s creator Zé Celso, he has claimed that the open-plan’s idea came when, on an acid trip, running from the police, he found himself trapped against a solid wall.

From the large main entrance off the Minhocão expressway, the theatre descends within the city block. On the right, the large glazed surface opens to provide a clearing to Silvio Santos’s adjacent property. That’s where the Teatro Oficina company creates short-term setups to attract large audiences to its shows.

As a general public street, it has barely any space for spectators; it is limited to actors. The general public, the technicians, and all the items are on stage with the actors. The theatre is no longer a “dream box” but a genuine life-style.

Linear time is a Western invention; time is not linear, it is a marvellous tangle where at any moment, points can be selected and solutions invented without beginning or end.

– Lina Bo Bardi

Teatro Oficina Plans

Floor Plans and section of Teatro Oficina / Lina Bo Bardi

Credit: Lina Bo Bardi Architects

Teatro Oficina Image Gallery

About Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi, original name in full Achillina Bo, (born December 5, 1914, Rome, Italy—died March 29, 1992, São Paulo, Brazil), 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.

Bo Bardi is recognized, though somewhat belatedly, 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.