Book: Lina Bo Bardi, Instiuto Lina Bo e P.M. Bardi
Another very serious problem, possibly more important than the architectural restoration itself, is the social problem. Usually, the people are removed from their homes and given other temporary shelters on the outskirts of cities. In the restored buildings, boutiques are installed for tourists, along with exhibitions, handicrafts made in Sao Paulo, etc. Now, the main principle of the restoration in Salvador is precisely to maintain the population living in the houses that need to be restored.
The general idea is to make on the ground floors a subsistence trade, “sub’áquea”, that is, the production of simple meals, small handicrafts, recuperation, restoration and repair of things. And on the upper floors, residences. In Bahia that is exactly the sort of things that exists. That is the idea behind the architectural restoration of the Salvador Historical Center. The pilot plan for Misericórdia Slope has not yet been carried out because it has not yet been fully understood as something really popular, made for the area’s population and not for tourists. On the Misericórdia Slope, in Bahia, we are preserving, in accordance with all the traditional rules for preservation, something that has survived: four walls with windows. But all this was no more than an empty egg shell that required a sustaining technical and historical restoration. One could not place columns inside, pillars and beams invading spaces that hitherto had been free and had an elegant structure. Together with architect João Filgueiras Lima (“Lelé”), we used reinforced daub, a system derived from the famous iron-cement of Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, who registered it at 1937. We built buttresses, as they do in countries subject to earthquakes, and isostatic slabs permitted the reconstruction of the old environments with continuous brick walls, with no pillars and beams.