Located in the Morumbi neighborhood of São Paulo city, this building is destined to attend the deprived population from the Jardim Colombo favela and to host activities from the Viver em Família Association, which aims to act upon the humanitarian development of said community.
The site upon which the complex rests, is the last intact remaining area of the surroundings. It presents an area of 30 x 50 meters (aprox. 33 by 53 yards) used not only as access to the internal streets of the favela as it was also the only common living area for the whole community. The project aimed, right from the very start, to maintain these characteristics, keeping the preexisting vehicle and pedestrian access. By the pedestrian area, the area can be accessed either by the street specially designed for that end, or by the multi-leveled square that overcomes the pronounced gap and serves as a recreational space. Its levels can be used both for resting and contemplation and for children’s games as well as, on events days, be transformed into stands for concerts and open air shows.
The programme of needs was divided into two blocks – one placed next to the west limit of the land and another suspended in a transversal manner, dividing the public square from the multi-sports court at the end of the property. A covered yard destined to multiple activities was created under the suspended block, which makes the transition between the sports court and the remaining of the square, delimiting the functions of each space and integrating them.
The complex’s main building holds in its ground floor the reception, janitor’s house and multi-disciplinary workshop that opens itself to the public space through a large swinging door. On the upper floor are the waiting room, medical, dental and psychological care rooms, legal affairs and others. Openly facing the street lies experimental kitchen used for training, with a space to sell the gastronomical produce with the purpouse of generating income for the building.
The elevated volume hosts professional-capacitation rooms, library and informatics room, besides restrooms and the deposit area for the whole complex. The mid-underground holds the changing rooms and deposits that attend the square and are used for communal bathing organized by the resident’s association. The portion of this volume that surpasses the floor serves as a stage for festivities.
The blocks also communicate amongst themselves through their openings – the garden terraces hold a playroom and may be transformed into a big suspended square for directed activities with paved areas, gardens and leisure equipment. Besides that, the big level gap between the land and the access street gives the people arriving on the community from the street the view from the top floor and the suspended square, which transforms it into an extension of the ground floor’s main square. That results into the qualification of the whole area with what the favelas lack the most: green, public and well-tapped-upon open spaces.
The building’s structure was designed in reinforced concrete and the walls were built in a concrete block system. The window’s iron frames are sometimes protected by a galvanized steel flap that at times acts as a louvre and at others hold movable metallic elements capable of darkening the rooms’ interior.
Just as the staircases, the metal walkways are designed in an expanded mesh system, same as the overhead door of the workshop and the sealing perforated plates from the caretaker's house. These metallic elements function as grafts in the building of exposed concrete and painted white blocks.
The building uses simple and common materials coming from the poorer neighborhoods of the city, such as the concrete blocks and ceramic shards which are used in a different way, while seeking integration with the environment and aesthetic requalification of the surroundings.