At 50, Masp Gets A Check-Up

The Getty Foundation funded a revision of Lina Bo Bardi's celebrated building of Brazil's most famous museum

Aerial view of Masp (Museu de Arte de São Paulo)

Francesca Angiolillo
São Paulo

For the last 50 years, it's been there, its four red feet firmly in the ground of Avenida Paulista.

Its high span gathered crowds for concerts, and more recently, for political protests.

The most important collection of European Art in the Southern Hemisphere floats above the ground, sheltered in this huge suspended box of glass and concrete.

Glass and concrete - materials so incorporated in São Paulo's everyday life that it's easy to forget that they age.

But modern architecture also ages, says Silvio Oksman. He coordinated the team who reviewed Masp's building, conceived by the Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi, and that reaches its 50th anniversary this week.

The yearlong check-up was funded by the program Keeping it Modern, from the Getty Foundation, an initiative that aims to preserve modern buildings. The program already supported reviews of other landmarks, like the Glass House, projected by Lina and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi, also in São Paulo.

The US$ 150,000 grant (around R$ 550,000) were used all to check Masp's structure, not only for safety reasons but because that's what makes the building so special.

The review allowed for the creation of a computer model that directed the structure's conservation guidelines. Oksman says that the building could last forever, if well preserved.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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