RESTORING THE ARCHITECT’S HOME
It took almost ten years of attempts to acquire the wonderful house at number 202 on Ceará street, which the architect Jayme Campelo Fonseca Rodrigues designed and built in 1937 to live with his wife and daughters.
His daughters, the owners of the property, were reluctant to sell it, because they were afraid the original character of such an important work in our architecture could be compromised.
The house designed by the architect for his parents (Cultura Inglesa headquarters at Higienópolis avenue) had been completely deformed, and then completely demolished. This is something that São Paulo residents – with the omissive cooperation from city authorities – tend to do with their most important architectural works, consequently avoiding their declaration as historic landmarks.
Sobre as Ondas (Over the Waves) building in Guarujá, another project by Jayme, was also having its original design progressively transformed. The house next to the one on number 202 at Ceará Street, designed for his sister and brother-in-law, was altered under the protection of a demolition permit!
Everything threatened the memory of the young and brilliant architect, who was probably not able to go further because the medical science at the time was not as advanced as his architecture.
When the house was bought in 1997, its first restoration was coordinated by the architects Álvaro Razuk and Leni Sanchez, who supervised each detail. Júlio Pechman designed library shelves, file cabinets and some other pieces of furniture.
From the foundations to the finishes, everything was rebuilt with the most absolute faithfulness to the original. Metals that were discovered in fifty-year old photographs were merged. Pieces of furniture, objects and equipment were carefully chosen, so that their design would not dishonor the modernist home.
The mica paste, a technique lost in time, was rediscovered by IPT (Technology Research Institute), along with the stonemasons who worked at the project, particularly Jacaré.
The few modifications, such as the basement extension to house the library, the closure of the garage (which was converted into a room for the lawyers), and the opening of an extra window in the former master suite, faithfully observed the city ordinances and the aim of not damaging the architectural memory. Thus, the new spaces were separated from the house core using transparent elements and the mica was kept as a reminder of where once was an outdoor area.
The city authorities did not approve the restoration, even after months of delay and despite the accomplishment of each of the many bureaucratic procedures. Therefore, we officially completed a renovation!
Well, our law firm has grown. We barely fit the house nowadays. However, we will never think of moving somewhere else.
To solve that, the Uruguayan architect Ernesto Tuneu has managed to increase the house’s use by building new areas apart from the main building. The architectural work has been maintained.
The modernist house that Jayme Fonseca Rodrigues would open for public visitation is still permanently open, as a museum that is occupied by daily activities.
Technical Report No. 35,510/97
Nature of the Work: Formulation and assessment of mortar for façade restoration coating.
Interested Party: Ernesto Tzirulnik
In view of the need to rework the external coating of the residence located at Rua Ceará nº 202, Pacaembú, São Paulo, SP, observing the original standards, the Interested Party, represented by the engineer Mauro Rodrigues Pinto of Núcleo Urbano Engenharia e Construções Ltda., has contacted IPT (Technology Research Institute) for advice in the definition of the mortar to be used.
Thus, the work offer DEC/AMCC 20,296/96 dated December 02, 1996 was prepared, including:
· A brief description of the original mortar.
· The preparation and application of experimental mortars, in order to obtain the texture of the original coating.
· The formulation of mortars with various binding agent contents, and the assessment of their main physical and mechanical characteristics.
Characterization of the Original Mortar
Plates of original mortar were collected at a project visit to serve as pattern of texture, color and amount of surface mica, and to determine binding agent and mica contents. An adhesion strength test was also performed on the original mortar. The results obtained are shown in Table 1.
In Mixture No. 27, 0.2% (as compared to dry material weight) of water retaining additive was also added. This mortar showed excessive adhesion to the work tools, which made its application difficult.
In Mixtures No. 28 through 30, the water retaining additive content was reduced to 0.05%, with varying zinc stearate contents. In Mixture No. 30, the hydrated lime quantity was reduced. For Mixtures No. 29 and 30, the mica was sieved through a 1.2 mm screen mesh, and only the fraction that remained on the sieve was used.
These mixtures showed adequate workability and easy application, even though certain adherence of the paste to the tools was still observed. Then, mixtures A, B, C, D and E were prepared and their main physical and mechanical properties were assessed.
Gilberto De Ranieri, engineer
Cavani Químico Valdecir Angelo Quarcioni
Luiz Antonio Ribeiro, technician
Gustavo Moreira Tiezzi, intern
São Paulo, June 30, 1997.