O Centro Cultural Vila Itororó é um espaço público e cultural da Secretaria Municipal de Cultura de São Paulo (@smculturasp) que  contempla um conjunto remanescente de edificações construídas nos anos 1920 e que está em fase de restauro. A Vila Itororó sempre  teve como uso principal a moradia, mas foi tornada patrimônio histórico e desapropriada para fins culturais a partir de 2013. Atualmente  o espaço compreende uma estrutura formada por um galpão com diversos espaços de convivência, experimentações artísticas, ensaios e  apresentações culturais, uma marcenaria pública, um conjunto recém-restaurado onde funcionam o laboratório de arte e tecnologia da  FabLabSP, uma sala de atendimento da Secretaria da Igualdade Racial, uma cozinha pública que será aberta ao público em breve, além de outros espaços que receberão exposições de longa duração sobre a história da Vila Itororó, salas de oficinas e ateliês abertos. Fazem  parte do complexo ainda, um conjunto de apartamentos localizados na Rua Martiniano de Carvalho 267 que serão destinados a  residências artísticas e uma casa na entrada da Rua Maestro Cardim onde serão realizadas sessões de Cineclube, oficinas de dança, yoga,  técnicas circenses, dança contemporânea, dentre outras atividades. 

A Vila Itororó é um conjunto arquitetônico idealizado por Francisco de Castro, com mais de dez edificações construídas ao longo do século XX para fins residenciais e de lazer. A Vila está localizada na encosta do Vale do Itororó, na divisa entre os bairros da Liberdade e da Bela Vista, na região central da cidade de São Paulo. Ocupa uma área de cerca de 6.000 metros quadrados, no miolo de uma quadra. A Vila Itororó foi tombada como patrimônio pelo CONPRESP (órgão municipal) em 2002 e pelo CONDEPHAAT (órgão estadual) em 2005. Em 2006 foi decretada área de utilidade pública, tendo sido desapropriada pelo governo do Estado e pela prefeitura de São Paulo para fins culturais. A restauração da Vila Itororó, iniciada em 2013, é realizada através de uma parceria entre a São Paulo Culture Municipal Secretary and Instituto Pedra.

Instituto Pedra is a non-profit institution that holds as a mission to carry out interventions and readings that value cultural heritage, generating knowledge with an integrated focus, considering its symbolic, material and territorial dimensions. While it carries out architectural surveys in the Vila Itororó ensemble (which was never done before), as well as complementary projects and restoration work, Instituto Pedra has also opened the construction site,with the aim of sharing the knowledge generated on site and of collectively debating its future usages.

Instead of carrying out restoration work behind closed doors, and later opening a finished cultural centre, defined by few people, the Vila Itororó restoration project proposes the opening of the restoration construction site from the beginning, as well as the setting up of an experimental cultural centre right in the middle of the works.

The idea is to unveil the very process involved in restoration and to imagine future usages for Vila Itororó, grounded on experimentations and public debates taking place today, in the present. This is an integrated action as it involves the participation of Vila Itororó’s former dwellers, residents of the surrounding areas, artists, researchers, architects and builders/workers of the construction site.

The restoration of Vila Itororó
The first proposal for intervention in the space dates from the mid-seventies, by a group composed by architects Benedito Lima de Toledo, Claudio Tozzi and Décio Tozzi, together with curator Aracy Amaral and landscape designer Burle Marx. This initial proposal allowed for a fresh gaze to be cast over this ensemble of informally built edifices, thus recognising the cultural importance of this kind of property, which, until then, was not usually valued by heritage agencies. The proposal put forward for the usage of the place intended to transform the site into an artistic, tourist and gastronomic hub. It sparked fierce controversy among architects, dwellers, social movements and heritage agencies, among other reasons, due to the fact that it did not take into account the fate of the then dwellers of Vila Itororó (see, for instance, Ulpiano Toledo Bezerra de Meneses. Adviser of Condephaat. Expert opinion. Interested party: São Paulo Institute of Braziian Architects. Subject: Listing of Vila Itororó. São Paulo, 25th of March 1985)).

This debate continues even today. The issues and criticisms raised in the course of those forty years resonate in the present project: why set up a cultural centre in a place meant for housing? How to integrate housing into the cultural project? How to live in Vila Itororó? How to live in culture? What are the possible usages for Vila Itororó in the future that may establish a dialogue with its past and with the present-day needs of the neighbourhood and of the city?

The families who have lived in Vila Itororó for the last few decades, after approximately seven years of struggle and resistance, were rehoused into social housing schemes, remaining in the central regions of the city. Here, on this web site, it will be possible to access some of their memories, as well as of artists and activists who have also participated in this movement.

Today some of the former dwellers participate in a neighbourhood collective, which meets every couple of weeks on the worksite to debate and decide on the destination of part of the funds allocated to the space’s programme. how to contribute.

São Paulo City Hall has opted for the use of resources obtained through the tax exemption Rouanet Law, as a way of making the execution of the restoration project possible, establishing a partnership with Instituto Pedra. The project was approved by the Ministry of Culture and since then is has been carried out with the support of resources from both businesses and individuals. See here how to contribute (LINK). Explore this website to know a little more about the context and see how to participate in the daily life of the open restoration construction site and in the exercise of collective imagination about the future usages of Vila Itororó.

Photo: Nelson Kon