Track 1: Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over
The Museu Paulista of the University of São Paulo: recovering a monument-building
Wednesday, September 26
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: HYATT-Grand B
The building that houses the Museu Paulista of the University of São Paulo, built between 1885 and 1894 as a monument to celebrate the Independence of Brazil, has undergone a series of interventions over the years. However, the lack of a careful look at the distinction of the construction, the iconic characteristics of traditional masonry technique and the nature of the materials in the building’s structure led to its current fragility. In addition to the interventions that occurred in isolation, without considering the building as a whole or even its surroundings, there was no attempt to establish criteria regarding the planning and operation of these interventions.
In the last surveys and technical reports elaborated by professionals contracted by the University of São Paulo, several problems were verified, especially regarding the infiltration of water in the roof, walls and linings, structurally compromising its correct performance. Another issue brought by the recent diagnoses is the plastic paint applied on the exterior facades of the Museum, which poses as a barrier to the evaporation of the building's natural moisture, since its foundations are not waterproofed. In addition, to allow the use of the basement pavement for exhibition use of the Museum, which was not foreseen in its construction, some of the load distribution arches were cut, which may have contributed to the appearance of deformations in the building. Other issues, such as the lack of conservation criteria, maintenance and control of vegetation around the building, are addressed in the technical reports produced from 2013 onwards.
In August of 2013, as a way to avoid greater damages, the Museum was closed to the public so that studies and analyzes could be carried out, such as structural diagnosis and laser scanning survey, as a way of understanding the particularities of the building and how best to treat it. In addition to that, in 2017 a design competition was promoted by the University for the modernization of the Museum, with expansion of its area, so that it will be open to the public again in 2022, commemorative date of the Bicentenary of the Independence of Brazil.
The presentation has as its central theme a critical analysis of documental procedures, surveys, diagnosis and designs carried out for the Museu Paulista building. The comparison of the techniques and procedures already adopted, as well as the results obtained, is important for understanding the effectiveness of these methods, their contributions and limits, with the greater objective of preserving the built heritage. Moreover, as a critical process, the analysis aims to provide inputs for historiography, from questioning the procedures adopted over the years and the current winning project for the modernization and adaptation to contemporary needs.
- Discuss the importance of documentation and diagnostic analysis of cultural heritage in the event of any conservation or restoration action
- Present a real and recent study case that can serve as an example for future developments in the theme of heritage conservation
- Describe and exhibit the Museu Paulista building, its history and the and the planned restoration project
- Encourage discussions about techniques and methods regarding documentation and diagnostic, especially of buildings that underwent various interventions, such as the Museu Paulista building