Lina Bo Bardi: 1914–1992

The Americas • Architecture • Illustrator • Educator • Civil Rights

This tale goes back to a long time ago, when there was war throughout the world. This tale is about a girl who loved art, even from a young age. Her name was Achillina, Lina for short. She was born in Italy, and when she told her family she wanted to be an architect, her father did not approve. Still, she continued her pursuit and opened her first architectural studio at the age of 28. During the war, there wasn’t much demand for architectural work, so Lina illustrated for newspapers and magazines. Her studio was destroyed by an aerial bombing in 1943. The bombing affected her greatly and influenced her political efforts. She took a stand for what she believed.
After taking a trip to Brazil, Lina fell in love with its environment and culture. She credits the move as having a positive effect on her creative thinking. Lina’s first initiatives and ideas were not readily accepted in Brazil, because she was a foreigner and a woman. Though she was born in Italy, she worked much of her life in Brazil. There she created art magazines and museums. She sought to develop structures that complimented nature and allowed the inhabitants to be immersed within it. In 1951, she designed the “Glass House” (“Casa de Vidro” which was located in the rainforest surrounding São Paulo. Its design features both modernism and vernacular influences. Large glass panels visually give the sense that the building is floating within the rainforest.
Known for writing poignant notes to herself and using illustrations to communicate her thoughts and ideas, she produced more than 6,000 drawings in her lifetime. Lina’s illustration style adapted as her surroundings changed, taking on environmental and cultural influences as she moved from place to place.
Lina’s story tells us that even though you may one day work or live in a foreign land, one can profoundly affect the arts & cultural initiatives. Which, in turn, positively influences the people of that region.

What’s HERstory?

Who was born in Italy, but worked much of her life in Brazil?

Who designed the “Glass House?

Who produced 6,000+ drawings to communicate architectural thoughts & ideas?

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