Restoring a nation’s pride with SunGuard© glass.
It was built to commemorate the country’s declaration of independence. It’s also a key feature of South America’s most prestigious educational establishment, the University of São Paulo.
Just a few years ago, however, it was a ruin, forgotten and neglected for over a decade. Renovation was sorely needed to not only restore and preserve such a vital landmark, but also to modernize the space and make it more accessible for all.
The solution, in part, to these challenges was Guardian SunGuard© High Performance Neutral 70 glass. Its properties helped the architects envisage and then propose an almost ‘invisible’ extension to the museum – the ideal balance between cultural preservation and clever reinvention.
‘’The…objective is not to impose…the new, but to reveal in a new way what is already there. The importance of the new elements does not reside in their appearance, but in their performance…their effectiveness in…enhancing the virtues of the pre-existing...‘’
With a neutral aesthetic and over 70% light transmission, SunGuard HP Neutral 70 opens up the museum – and its nearly 4000 artifacts – to natural light. Just as important, the addition of opaque PVB and ceramic frit to the roof glass, means these treasures – including the famous, newly renovated Independência ou Morte (Independence or Death) by Pedro Améico – are protected from the effects of UV light.
The natural ventilation and solar control and insulation qualities offered by SunGuard© HP Neutral 70 also helps to ensure thermal comfort for visitors and staff – removing the need for intrusive and potentially damaging air-conditioning installations in what is a culturally significant space.
‘’We advised not to put in air conditioning because it would have been very aggressive infrastructure in such a setting. Through subtle interventions in the windows, openings and roofs, we improved the natural ventilation by permitting air movement – without air conditioning or active acclimatization systems.‘’
Whilst very much preserving the historic exterior, the ‘invisible’ renovation has also doubled the museum’s floor space. Much of this has been achieved by redesigning the underground areas, including the addition of a new entrance lobby that opens onto the surrounding gardens. As well as creating over 6,800m2 of newly annexed space for exhibitions, classrooms, conservation and research facilities and a cafeteria.
While the renovation with SunGuard© HP Neutral 70 glass may be ’invisible’, the benefits are obvious. Not only is the museum a vibrant cultural center once more, it can now welcome more than 500,000 visitors each year and host up to 12 exhibitions simultaneously. All without compromising the heritage and ambience of this unique symbol of Brazilian independence.
Architects: H+F Arquitetos | Processor: Glassec | Fabricator: Avec Design
Façade consultant: Pedro Martins Engenharia | Photographer: Marcelo Sonohara