ESTUDIO MARIANA VILELA
ACCESS FOR ALL
Architeckturmuseum der TUM
Assembly June 2019
Mariana Vilela, Brunno Tolisani Resendes, Teo Butenas
Photos Pedro Kok, Ciro Miguel
Curator Daniel Talesnik
Museum Director Andres Lepik
Photography Ciro Miguel
Exhibition Drawings Gabriel biselli, Gabriel Sepe, Guilherme Pianca e Luiz Solano
Illustrations Danilo Zamboni
Videos and Interviews Pedro Kok
Graphic design Kathryn Gillmore
Assistants João Bittar Fiammenghi, Pia Nürnberger, Marcello della Giustina.
Exhibition model Anna List, Jakob Bahret
"Every city has its own character—based on historical, geographical, sociological, economic, and other factors. However, a city can never be defined solely by the numbers, facts, plans, and statistics related
to these factors. The particular character of each city constitutes itself beyond these factual, objectively measurable conditions from the daily interactions of its citizens and visitors. Urban sociologists call this circumstance the “intrinsic logic” of a city. To perceive, analyze, and understand this logic in its deeper dimensions, one needs specific instruments and observational methods. First, one needs perception in person, the physiological experience of the rhythm of a city’s inhabitants and traffic, its hum and smell.
The best method, however, is often to search out those places in which the particular profile of a city is condensed in specific spatial configurations.
São Paolo’s estimated twelve million inhabitants make it the largest city on the South American continent; it long ago reached dimensions that exceed human imagination. Like other ever-growing mega-cities of the twenty-first century, São Paolo has a specific character recognizable within its highly complex spatial and social conditions. But, this character is not encountered in the shopping malls, the repetitive high-rises of mass housing, nor in the elitist gated communities—building types which resemble each other across the globe. Those who want to find and understand São Paulo’s particular character should venture to one of the built projects we present in this exhibition, “Access for All,” and the accompanying catalogue. Once one has experienced on a regular weekday how “Paulistas” of different ages and social backgrounds at SESC Pompeia lie on a chair on the sun deck, while others read books next door in the library or take part in craft courses, one will quickly realize that this compound is unique in its mixture of leisure, education, sports, culture, and diverse encounters. There, one can experience a dense coexistence of offerings for an urban population which gladly takes advantage of them. Beyond the city’s structures for working and living, these spaces assert the identity of their users as an urban society.
There are several such places in the city, which all take on similarly complex tasks. They are “social condensers” (to use a central term from Russian Constructivist architecture) in a current, expanded
sense. Hence, the first thesis of our exhibition: the mega-city of São Paolo creates a surplus value for its inhabitants with these projects, which offer a necessary compensation for the extreme urban conditions of spatial and social density. At the same time, these projects are representative of the character of the city at large. They are spaces of inclusion, which foster encounters between inhabitants of diverse economic and social backgrounds, and they create added societal value that exceeds their individual programmatic offerings. From this conclusion derives our second thesis: these projects render São Paolo as exemplary, since they contain a message that is essential for the future of other large cities. In times of growing social inequality, we need many more such spaces where diverse local communities meet.
With the exhibition “Access for All,” the Architecture Museum of the TUM takes up once more the question of architecture’s potential to positively influence societal conditions through concrete, built structures. This spectrum ranges from Oscar Niemeyer’s canopy covering the Ibirapuera Park (1954) and the SESC Pompeia by Lina Bo Bardi (1977-1986) to the Centro Cultural São Paolo (1972-1982) and the recently opened Instituto Moreira Salles on the Avenida Paulista. These buildings are also architecturally-formed spaces where the architects’ aim was not focused on iconic facades, but on the needs of urban users. We propose to read all these projects as a network of social infrastructures.
The exhibition and accompanying catalogue emerged from a seminar led by the curator, Daniel Talesnik, at the TU Munich during the fall semester 2018/19. He further sharpened and expanded the concept with support and suggestions from colleagues in São Paulo and during a workshop at the Goethe Institute São Paulo. We thank him for his intense engagement and hope that this exhibition and catalogue can spark a discussion about these projects and ideas well beyond São Paulo." Andres Lepik