Tuesday, May 1, 2007

São Paulo: Transformation Without Destruction

To the southeast of the São Paulo neighbourhood of Morumbi is favela Paraísopolis, that came into existence in the 1970s. With about 84 thousand inhabitants it is one of the larger slums of São Paulo. Paraísopolis has been subject to an urban renewal project by Vigliecca & Associados Architects Office, who designed a solution based on transformation of the slum without destruction.

The fact that the slum was structured around an orthogonal grid of roads gave the favela the potential to evolute to a mature urban neighbourhood. In fact, because of this street grid the slum looked more like a poor neighbourhood than an actual slum. It is known that Periuvian slum dwellers anticipate in a similar way on future developments by adopting a comparable orthogonal grid. Slums in Peru are called pueblos jovenes (young towns).

Though the limits of the blocks in Paraísopolis were relatively developed and urbanised, the inside of the blocks represented a typical slum labyrinth with meandering streets and alleys. The main trick with the project of Vigliecca & Associados was to redefine the edges of the building blocks and create open space by condensing the building volume. The open space is designed to act as a meeting point for the community.

The valleys have been given special attention, especially where there were streams present. In these locations, parks were created to stimulate circulation in the neighbourhood. With the introduction of the new building blocks the architects have tried to stimulate and structure the urbanisation of the young neighbourhood without destroying the existing community.

Vigliecca & Associados