MSA+PMA Architecture entered this competition in collaboration with “MAS Urban Design ETH Zürich” – successful teamwork that revealed a First-Prize Winning Project for “Cabuço de Baixo 5”. The initiative of this cooperation began with a proposal from a cohort of postgraduates who were attending the Masters Program in Advanced Studies in Urban Design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich).
Consisting in the regeneration of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the project embraces the possibility of Social Intervention and Responsibility in areas of precarious conditions. The essence was based on a complex perspective that jumps between different scales – Housing and Urban Planning.
Corresponding to the cohort’s area of study, the development of strategies for slum territories in Brazil, “Cabuço de Baixo 5” Project fits within the parameters. The territory consists in an extensive area located in the North of Sao Paulo, which is currently facing high levels of landslide risks, flooding, high density, polluted streams, poor infrastructures and lack of cultural and social services.
Having this said, the presented solution aims to improve these poorly planned areas by proposing the design of residential towers. These buildings work as reinforcement elements located on the hillside by also creating new public spaces within a linear perimeter that gathers housing, social facilities and commercial areas along the stream.
However, the complexity behind this masterplan focuses on the need for a concept and strategy that respect the existent local qualities whilst solving the above-mentioned problems. The direct response admits two ways of interventions: linear or punctual. Linear housing structures, alongside the stream, resemble the dorsal spine of the plan by concentrating on areas under severe depression– the result, a new urban front. This grid is accompanied by public spaces which allow the decrease in density caused by this new implementation and the creation of open spots. The target of these structures is to stimulate this area and define a new consolidated core. The other method, punctual intervention, can be described as urban acupuncture. It reduces occupancy rate by proposing an increase in vertical construction. The general picture is to create exceptional vertical buildings for housing whilst creating empty spots on land destined for public spaces. Once again, these vertical elements reinforce the hillside and their respective public spaces allow a fluid circulation and the access to different levels formed by steep slopes. These towers punctuate the region and reaffirm the existence of new cores (public services) on ground level to serve the community.
Another relevant area is the Central Business District in Sao Paulo – named ZEIS 2/021 (Lot 3 “Ponte Baixa 4”). The intervention seeks to create a “Brazilian Block” adequate to the real world. This is, a new central feature within the city which offers social housing and an appropriate response to the needs of today’s real estate market (areas for leisure activities, sports, and more importantly, social interaction). This new urban structure encourages the creation of continuous and flexible streets in order to support and integrate the built environment.
Architects: MSA+PMA Architecture Location: São Paulo, Brazil Renderings: Courtesy of MSA+PMA Architecture
Text provided by MSA+PMA Architecture