III FÓRUM DE PESQUISA FAU.MACKENZIE I 2007
REDESIGN OF URBAN VOIDS: A PROPOSAL TO SANTA EFIGÊNIA AREA (SÃO PAULO) 1
Ricardo Hernán Medrano Θ
Felipe Martin de Góes Θ
1. ABSTRACT
This paper is a contribution for the urban design studies, specifically to architectural
interventions in urban voids. Beginning with a conceptual reflection about subjects as
historical patrimonies, urban morphology and intervention in central areas, and using as a
study case the Santa Efigênia area in São Paulo’s downtown, this study concludes in a
proposition of a college building project in poorly occupied area.
The redesign of urban voids is a relevant subject for the contemporaneous city, implicating
in theoretical basis in many fields of study, as well as historical and socioeconomic
knowledge in the case area, morphological analysis and methodology of building design.
The main objectives of this paper are:
1) Explore the importance of urban voids in central areas and its urban intervention
potentiality.
2) Indicate the importance of the concept of morphological elements, specifically the
building element on the urban redesign practice.
3) Demonstrate the great potentiality to contemporary architecture practice when working
with these subjects.
These concepts and their application are exemplified on a study case in Santa Efigênia in São
Paulo’s downtown, concluding in an architectural project of a Technology College building in
this area; a synthesis between morphological and socioeconomic analysis of the area, urban
design and building techniques.
Keywords: Urban Morphology, Urban Redesign, Architectural Project, Urban Voids, São
Paulo’s downtown.
Θ
Físico (Unicamp, 1986), Arquiteto e Urbanista (Fauusp, 1992) e Doutor (Fauusp, 2003). Professor da Universidade
Presbiteriana Mackenzie e Pesquisador Externo do Instituto de Arte Americana (Buenos Aires). Membro do Conselho
Editorial da Revista Nossa América
Θ
Arquiteto formado pela Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie
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2. INTRODUCTION
This paper is a based on a Final Graduation Monograph called: “Faculdade de Tecnologia e
Informação na Santa Ifigênia. Uma Proposta de Redesenho Urbano de Áreas Residuais”
concluded in 2006 at Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie – Faculdade de Arquitetura e
Urbanismo, oriented by Dr. Arch. Ricardo Hernán Medrano.
The redesign of urban voids in São Paulo is a relevant subject for architectural practice in the
great contemporaneous Brazilian cities, implicating in theoretical basis in many fields of
study, as well as São Paulo’s historical and socioeconomic development and knowledge of
the social environment of the case area (Santa Efigênia- São Paulo), morphological analysis
and methodology of building design in a very dense and strategic region.
Analyzing São Paulo´s development since the traditional colonial architecture to the modern
implantation is very relevant. This analysis give us basis for a reflection about the
potentialities of urban interventions in São Paulo´s downtown.
The main objectives of this paper are to explore the importance of urban voids in central
areas and its urban intervention potentiality, also indicating the importance of the concept of
morphological elements, specifically the building element and demonstrating the great
potentiality to contemporary architecture practice when working with these subjects.
These concepts and their application are exemplified on a study case in Santa Efigênia in São
Paulo’s downtown, concluding in an architectural project of a Technology College building in
this area; a synthesis between morphological and socioeconomic analysis of the area, urban
design, materials and building techniques.
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III FÓRUM DE PESQUISA FAU.MACKENZIE I 2007
1. Technology college in Santa Efigênia 2
3. REDESIGN OF URBAN VOIDS
According to Rossi 3 (2001), to analyze the city an its architecture, the concept of urban form
is a main subject, a way of analysis and description of the urban object.
Referring to the studies of the Cozen School, Kostof 4 (2005) proposes that the urban
morphology could be analyzed using three basic elements: the town plan, the plot pattern
and the buildings.
Lamas 5 (2000) identify the existence of other elements: pavement, lot, block, façade, the
backyard, the street, the plaza, the monument, nature and the urban furniture.
All elements pointed by Lamas (2000) certainly have their importance on the urban form
analysis, but the main objective of this paper is to indicate specifically the importance of the
building element to architectural interventions or urban redesign practice in urban voids in
central areas like São Paulo’s downtown.
The relationship between the lot and the building element is according to Reis Filho, N.G. 6
(2004) a main subject in architectural analysis. Studding the development of the squares,
lots, urban legislation and the construction techniques that shaped the architectural models
in São Paulo’s history, it is possible to create solid theoretical basis to the architectural
practice.
According to Lamas 7 (2000) the dialect relation between the building and the urban form is a
main subject in urban analysis, as the building is a decisive element on urban form and the
urban form a condition to the buildings typologies
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III FÓRUM DE PESQUISA FAU.MACKENZIE I 2007
According to Del Rio, V. 8 (1999) the urban redesign is performed in many cities in the world
that searches for an upgrade in life quality through investments and replacement of urban
equipments. Between city marketing and management actions there is an important place to
physical and urban interventions
According to Meyer, R. 9 (2004) these interventions are placed in strategic points of the city,
and are used for territorial restructure in local and metropolitan scale.
The urban voids in São Paulo’s downtown could be related to the concept of Urban Voids
described by Sola-Morales 10 identified as obsolete places, disconnected from the urban day
life, economical production and social use
The proposal of this paper is to relate the multi facade characteristic of the modern
architecture with a contextual implantation, a urban design using the block as a solid unit
trough the relation between different buildings, integrating the free areas in the block center
as a sociable plazas using free passages to pedestrians .
Finally, the intention is to demonstrate that when working with these morphological
elements, architectural projects could increase their potentialities and have good results and
a qualified intervention in the contemporaneous city.
4. STUDY CASE – SANTA EFIGÊNIA (SÃO PAULO)
The Santa Efigênia area is located in São Paulo’s downtown, to the west direction from the
historic hill where the city was founded. The area passed through many changes during São
Paulo’s history and economic periods. Nowadays Santa Efigênia stands for a very strategic
point in São Paulo’s metropolitan region, accessed by subway, train and bus.
The region boasts a national range reputation on electronics equipment shopping and
services related to it. The area is also known as “cracolandia” referring to the illegal drug
dealing, prostitution activity and other crimes.
The specific block analyzed for the study case and surroundings have buildings with a good
aspects of conservation and have been used to commercial and services activities related to
electronic equipment. Although the area boasts a great commercial dynamic, there is no
diversity of other regular activities, fact that collaborates with unusual activities, such as
prostitution and drug dealing on the street during the night.
Bringing an educational Institution like a Technology College to the area, means to have
students during all day an night walking through the area, using the public transport,
parting at pubs, renting apartments in the region, shopping and stimulating different
commercial uses as book stores, language schools, laundries, stationer’s shop, lan houses
and restaurants, providing urban diversity to the neighborhood.
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When putting together the available access to the area using public transport as subways,
train, bus, and also the main avenues that pass trough the region, and also Santa Efigênia’s
reputation of electronic equipment center for shopping and services, the conclusion is that
the same public that regularly shops in the area become potential students to attend the
Technology College.
2. São Paulo’s downtown. Public transport in Santa Efigênia area. 11
5. ARCHITECTURAL PROJECT – TECHNOLOGY COLLEGE BUILDING
The place chosen for the project is located in Santa Efigênia area and nowadays is used as
parking lot in a block located between Rio Branco av, Timbiras, Aurora and Santa Efigênia St.
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3. Intervention area. The square between Rio Branco av, Timbiras,
Aurora and Santa Efigênia St. 12
4.Implantation. Sociable plaza, educational and administrative
buildings 13
The urban analysis of the square and neighbors was essential for the project conception and
development:
1)Parking lots areas represents an emptiness in São Paulo’s downtown, and their occupation
by other activities is welcome by the community and government.
2)The area in Rio Branco av. and Aurora street corner is surrounded by two high buildings
without windows in their lateral side… In this particular place a building as high as those
should be built to cover the walls and contribute with the city landscape and urban design.
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III FÓRUM DE PESQUISA FAU.MACKENZIE I 2007
5. Rio Branco Avenue and Aurora Street corner 14
3)The ground floor should be as clear as possible of walls and other obstacles to create a
pedestrian passage through the square and a sociable plaza.
6. Floor plan. Snack bar, Sociable plaza, convenience stores and access to the buildings 15
4)The Timbiras street buildings often aren’t very high. In this area a lower building should be
built to maintain the street landscape.
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7. Timbira’s street building’s façade
5)In the center of the block a sociable plaza should be built to provide social interaction
between students, local community inhabitants and workers, and also provide natural light
and fresh air to the back side rooms of the square’s buildings.
8. Sociable Plaza in the blocks’s center/ backside of Timbira’s building. 16
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REDESIGN OF URBAN VOIDS: A PROPOSAL TO