When Lina Bo Bardi visited the old metal barrel factory in the working class district of Pompéia with plans to build a sports and culture center, the space had already been occupied spontaneously by neighbors who spent the weekends amidst the warehouses of the industrial complex. The priority, therefore, was to maintain and promote this vital activity, without demolishing the existing structures, designed by the French François Hennebique, one of the pioneers in the use of reinforced concrete.
Lina Bo Bardi’s determination to preserve the old factory reduced the space available for sports facilities to a small corner of the plot that, furthermore, had a central corridor on which building was not permitted because there was groundwater. The solution was radical. Two concrete towers house the stacked sports spaces and the dressing rooms. Between them, eight prestressed concrete footbridges span distances of up to twenty-five meters over the non-buildable areas. Rounding off the complex, a third cylindrical tower rising seventy meters high functions as a landmark that can be seen from afar inviting citizens to become part of this ‘little joy in a sad city.’