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The Art of protecting teaching and patrimony

Improvement in the installations kick-starts the S

The Arts Institute of Unesp (IA) in São Paulo, is among the best Brazilian schools that offers graduation and post-graduation courses in music, fine arts and artistic education. “Six years ago we were the poor cousin of the university”, recalls John Boudler, head professor of the Music Department. Beginning in 1995, the resources of FAPESP's Infrastructure Program, equivalent to “the expenses of two years”, in a comparison made by professor Boudler, allowed for the reconstruction of the library and the auditorium, substantially improving the teaching conditions.

“The old auditorium didn't have sound and acoustic proofing, no air conditioning or even bathrooms”, tells the professor. With the support of the Infra program it was also possible to implant an information technology network. The reforms of the installations, completed in 1997, had a reflection on the student demand for the courses offered by the institute, which currently has 600 students enrolled in its courses. “Now is the time to restructure the institute”, says professor Boudler.

The resources of the Infrastructure Program for 142 projects in the area of Human and Social Sciences, have also benefited the Brazilian Studies Institute (IEB), of the University of São Paulo (USP). The IEB is the caretaker of important documents on the history of Brazilian thinking. It contains in its archive rare documents such as theIncunábulo , a book written in the 15th century, and its archives house manuscripts and photos of great people in Brazilian culture such as Graciliano Ramos, Mário de Andrade and Guimarães Rosa. This is without mentioning the collections of intellectuals such as Ian de Almeida Prado and the historian from Rio de Janeiro, Alberto Lamego.

Today this documentation is preserved with security, and at the same time, is accessible to the public. Nevertheless, before the renovation and modernization of the installations carried out by the Infra, the precarious conditions of the installations of the IEB represented a threat to this patrimony. For example, there was no kind of fire protection. Only in the library was there any air conditioning. The electrical system of the building was generated by distinct power centers, which made difficult the control of the power load and increased the risk of fatal accidents. The reforms and the improvements of the installations of the building were carried out with the resources of FAPESP's Infrastructure Program.

“The Infra Program was the solution”, sums up Marta Rossetti Batista, a researcher of History of Art at the IEB. In the case of the areas of the archive of the institute, they opted for a system of protection against fire based on carbon dioxide – since with this type of documentation, water can cause can cause as much damage as fire, destroying all of the material. Also in the archive an air conditioning system was installed and its own electrical power source was built in, independent of the other departments and even more powerful. The program financed the construction of special cabins for consultations through microfilms and computers, which has made access to the documents that make up this large archive easier to the researchers and students.

The resources of the Infra Program financed as well a change of furniture, the purchase of Internet servers and computers and the setting up of a computer network. The collection of visual arts gained a system of acclimatization with air conditioning and humidifiers for the conservation of the works, as well as new electrical wiring and adequate illumination. The renovation of the library space, which will be reopened to the public this month, increased the area available to house the major part of the collection. “Today the IEB is totally equipped”, assures Marta.

The consolidation of a good infrastructure increased the flow of consultations to the archives and changed the processes of work. “It was necessary to organize and order the material in such as manner as to better attend the public and offer more options”, explains Marta. The support of the Infra Program was fundamental for the consolidation and expansion of the Audio Visual Resources Laboratory (LRAV) of the Architecture and Urbanism School y (FAU) of USP. The old LRAV, established in 1975, brings together a photography laboratory for student use and another for service supply.

At the beginning of the 90s, with the enlargement of the History research area and the number of scholarships, it was necessary to implant a third laboratory, for the exclusive use of post-graduates, with more sophisticated equipment and consequently more expensive, purchased through FAPESP resources. However, the only area available had been in the cellar of the main building of FAU, and all of the LRAV ended up being transferred to an annex building. “The installations were very poor and made the work impossible”, recalls Nestor Goulart Reis Filho, of the Architectural History Department of the school.

The laboratory did not have an air exhaust system to give an exit to the chemical fumes that were given off from the areas of photo developing and the film developing cabin that had been installed in a room with an illuminated window, pointing towards the FAU gardens. The area was adjacent to the school workshop, where the electrical saws operated. The noise was deafening and the walls, made of plaster, vibrated dangerously. And more: directed towards the western side, the heat of the laboratory was unbearable.

“Using the resources of the Infra Program, we substituted the lining for another, this time of acoustic material, upgraded the lighting system, put in carpeting, installed an exhaust system and air conditioning, reformed the hydraulic system and we even sealed the rooms in a way as to improve the conditions of the installation of the equipment”, says Goulart.

For the greater security of students, researchers and of the Institute's patrimony, smoke detectors were installed, as well as a system of electronic vigilance and windows bars. For example, the reforms allowed the operation of equipment for color developing that had been inoperative. The reforms, he emphasized, inaugurated a new working phase in the history research laboratory.