Sao Paulo Reaction: Vacant Infralandscape

This Option Studio is about dissolving the rigid limits between architecture, landscape and urbanism and it’s about Sao Paulo and its vacant infrastructures. We propose a deep investigation on the urban structure of the city in the downtown area. We are going to study and discuss possibilities of transformation of a fundamental site where the city was born.

Architecture is related to the action. It is a propositional activity by definition. Therefore, imagining the future is the basis of architects’ works. But architecture also talks about something pre-existing, part of the "real world". Therefore, the object of the design studio will focus on empty, underused, abandoned and/or deteriorated buildings and spots in the center of São Paulo, both public and private, which do not respond to their urban social functions.

The new proposals for the reuse and redesign of these key places in the city, together, should raise debates for the renewal of downtown neighborhoods based on a sensitive and holistic approach, attentive to the balance between physical, social, economic, political, and environmental aspects, promoting a review of the consumerist and irresponsible way of building cities. The selection of these spaces must be carried out with the support of the Municipality of São Paulo, in partnership with the Municipal Department of Urban Planning and Licensing, SMUL.

For the developed projects to be compatible with legal procedures and, above all, with the priorities outlined by current urban planning instruments, the participation of the Public Power is necessary as a supplier of guidelines and consistent information.

Nowadays urban voids in SP are spread across the downtowns area, as part of our everyday life. Our aim here is to study and propose a new relationship from this area, proposing new uses, squares, and a new landscape within the city.

However, this studio will not be the place to solve the problems about this issue, but to propose poetic essays for a global city whose themes are universal but brought from the cultural contribution of each participant of the course.

We believe that part of our work in urbanism is a capability of negotiation, we have to mediate different interests and actors in a certain situation. We will practice this in our studio. We will provide graphic bases, maps, photos, but you will have to produce much more.

You will be asked to find some place and building to intervene in the downtown and you will have to provoke a reaction to this urban context and reality. We are going to guide you, step by step, to establish the site recognition and analysis, create a conceptual atmosphere to the urban plan, and develop the ideas with high graphic strategies and skills. Architecture and urbanism are always about transformation.

We are going to work in modules, dividing the semester into 3 parts – Approach, Infiltrate, Rehabilitate – clearly shaped to organize the work of each student.