How Hector Vigliecca's São Paulo Housing Shows the Challenges of Social Architecture

São Paulo is the financial center and largest city of Brazil, and victim to a seemingly unending water crisis. The situation stems from over-populated neighborhoods lacking in a regulated infrastructure, with buildings that are uncoordinated in their development and maintenance leading to pollution in nearby water reservoirs. In 2009, the government of São Paulo sought to address this issue by expropriating the homes of 200 families, who were then moved back in 2012 to a new construction designed by Hector Vigliecca; the Novo Santo Amaro V Park Housing.

In this video from The Architectural Review - which supports their full building study - Vigliecca and current residents of the complex reflect on what the valley of unregulated infrastructure used to be like, and how it has developed to the present day.

The long-term results of this government-subsidized, architecturally innovative solution are mixed. Public recreation spaces at the complex ended up inviting large groups of people from surrounding neighborhoods, who often threw illegal parties and ended up increasing drug trafficking in the area. When residents got fed up with this unwanted occupation, they would park their cars in the recreation spots just to keep out illicit activity. The tenants insisted that management put up a fence around the entire lot, even though the original premise of the housing project was to reinvigorate the community. Even the water feature became stagnant and brought insects and disease, after the springs that had been discovered during construction dried up.

© Leonardo Finotti

The reality of this problem is that many of the people relocated to this construction were unfamiliar with living in a regulated housing development. Luis Recamán, one of the organizers of a recent book about Vigliecca's housing projects, described how "this population doesn’t have memories of the countryside or the city to be re-activated, because they are second or third generation urban deprived."

Read The Architectural Review's full building study of Vigliecca's Novo Santo Amaro V Park Housing here. (Readers may need to register for free to view the article.)

© Leonardo Finotti
About this author
Cite: Joey Jacobson. "How Hector Vigliecca's São Paulo Housing Shows the Challenges of Social Architecture" 17 Jun 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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