This article was originally published on August 14, 2014. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section. When Lina Bo Bardi received the commission to build a new museum of art on São Paulo’s Terraço do Trianon, she was given the job under one condition: under no circumstances could the building block the site’s panoramic vistas of the lower-lying parts of the city. This rule, instituted by the local legislature, sought to protect what had become an important urban gathering space along Avenida Paulista, the city’s main financial and cultural artery. Undeterred, Bo Bardi came up with a solution that was simple and powerful. She designed a building with a massive split through its midsection, burying half of it below the terrace and lifting the other half into the sky. As a result, the plaza remained open and unobstructed, and in 1968, the iconic São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) was born.
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