Architecture Design Option Studio — Strategies to design Social Housing on Sao Paulo city downtown (Bucci)

4.145 or 4.153
Required of: 
MArch students; optional for SMArchS/Urbanism students

The goal of this studio is to explore design strategies for Affordable Housing in Sao Paulo's downtown, where infrastructure abundancy contrasts with scarcity of housing, and on its outskirts, the opposite. Thus in order to overcome social inequality and better balance rights and citizenship means to increase [1] housing projects in downtown while on the other hand [2] to spread out infrastructure and public facilities buildings on the periphery. Our topic in this studio will be the first one.

The area is located along the north-south axis through the Avenue Casper Libero, which connects Santa Efigenia square and Luz train station. This axis [it will be explored by walking] can be extended from both edges crossing over the Anhangabau valley on the south and crossing over the railways inside the station to the remarkable Luz Park on the north (see PDF document which includes images).

Once a prestigious area in the city, Santa Efigenia and Luz began to decline during the 1970s. Although still degraded, these neighborhoods, mostly Luz, were taken as a clear target to be renovated by the real estate market. The field for this private action was prepared by some city and state government efforts in its renovation through some remarkable public equipment which would be strong enough to play as catalysts for the renovation of the area. It is the case of [1] the Pinacoteca [former Liceu de Artes e Oficios by Ramos de Azevedo, late nineteenth century] and [2] Museu da Lingua Portuguesa [by Charles Henry Driver, 1901]. Both were renovated by Paulo Mendes da Rocha. [3] Sala Sao Paulo Symphonic Orchestra Hall [former Julio Prestes train station, designed by Cristiano Stockler das Neves, 1927-1938], renovated by Nelson Dupré, 1997-1999. [4] There was also a project by Herzog & De Meuron, 2008 – 2012, for Luz Cultural Complex / Ballet Hall, that ended up being canceled in 2015. Instead a Housing and Cultural complex will be built on the same site, designed by Biselli and Katborian.

The specific area suggested to be focused is defined by the perimeter made by Maua street [north boundary], Brigadeiro Tobias street [east], Washington Luis street [south] and General Couto Magalhaes street [west]; which encompass two blocks east and west of Casper Libero Avenue.

Context — normative
A new Masterplan for the City of São Paulo was approved in 2014 (see PDF document). This law addresses the remarkable social function of property and assures a source of funds [through outorga onerosa] and defined concepts and mechanisms to make possible some remarkable changes, among them some are very important for this studio: [1] mixed use, incentive by increased up to 20% of the FAR to mixed residential and commercial, services and facilities;[2] dwelling share, part-quota establishes the minimum quantity of dwelling units according to the land area; [3] active façade, urban incentives to building with commercial use, services and facilities located on the ground level, with open access to the public; [4] public fruition, urban incentives to developments with areas assigned for public use.

Design goals
Assuming the ground level [or lower levels] opened to public fruition and the quota-part ratio as a minimum housing supply means considering the location and normative contexts; each architect student is required to formulate a formal and constructive proposition.
Rooftop or any outside space other than ground level to be shared among dwellers is an important extension of the house program.

Access strategy in a ground level mainly occupied by public programs is a key issue.

Studio trip
Experiencing a city and a studio site directly is priceless. More than the site and its context, this trip will allow an introduction to the current urban agenda in Sao Paulo. It also includes tours to some buildings considered masterpieces of the Brazilian modern architecture including the Architecture School of the University of Sao Paulo, by Vilanova Artigas (also an opportunity to interact with some professors and students).