Homes: Lina Bo Bardi’s Glass House
Though now part of the fashionable suburb of Morumbi, the Glass House once hovered over the remnants of the original rain forest, the mata Atlãntica, with its dense, exuberant fauna and flora. Suspended high above a sea of green, the building resembles an International Style treehouse. A swaying metal staircase connects the winding path to the living spaces above, its seeming instability in keeping with the adventurous atmosphere of the house, which seems to anticipate Italo Calvino’s 1957 tale, The Baron in the Trees. The Bardis lived surrounded by armadillos, opossums, sloths, and wildcats; tropical birds flashed intermittently amid the foliage. Their house was virtually a belvedere. Great swaths of unspoiled vegetation had already been cleared in 1950, when the new road was cut. An environmentalist long before the term existed, Bo Bardi had the forest replanted around the building. Even though the entire area is now built up and the wildcats are long since gone, the lots are large and densely planted, and the Glass House is almost invisible from the road, concealed by a thick screen of vegetation. Though Bo Bardi would later challenge the opposition of nature and culture, the contrast between the abstract aesthetic of steel and glass and the lush green of the forest was an important element of her parti from the start.
Source: Harvard Design Magazine