Density and Void
The city of São Paulo is marked by a dense occupation which blurs the perception of both its original topography and few unoccupied spaces, especially those defined and configured by the original site, by the geographic phenomena. One of the challenges for architects in this century should be the construction of the void as someone opening clearings and enabling new dimensions and spaces for living in our city. This housing edifice is inserted in such a thesis.
Construction of Topography
The edifice takes advantage of the rugged topography, a typical situation of small valley, that exists between Simpatia street – at the highest level-and Medeiros de Albuquerque street– at the lowest level-defining the occupation in two blocks: a superior and aerial one– the housing structure-and another inferior and rooted– services and spaces for automobiles. Between these two blocks: a free space, a free slab, accessed by a walkway, makes it possible to look freely to the opposite side of the valley.
Design of Motion in Space: Walking Among the Trees
While hovering the lower courtyard, the crowns of fruit trees are at the level of those who circulate in the forecourt, which can be a treasure in this passage: grabbing a fruit where least expected.
Once having exceeded the glass door, the space does not close up, on the contrary, it insists on staying open for the view and for a mirror pool which marks the existing empty space in the middle of the edifice, towards which lifts and stairs are open. In its extreme, a balcony for collective use of the residents opens up to the landscape, either for parties or gatherings, ending the tour and still allowing access to the swimming pool situated in the courtyard below.
Apartments as Expression of Residents
The apartments are actually empty spaces: open plans where residents can adapt the ambiences according to their needs and desires.
They are organized in two opposing blocks, Simpatia and Medeiros, with differentiated conformations and views, but both offer multiple forms of occupation, according to their users’ life needs. This diversity is expressed on the randomness of the openings of the north and south faces that mark the uniqueness of each apartment. On the east and west faces, glass plans in the full extension of the units mark the presence of the edifice in the urban landscape, flooding the environment with the internal light of the units.
The vertical circulation block (stairs and lifts) between the two apartments opens onto balconies facing the inner void as spatial continuity of the forecourt. At each unit it enlarges and offers a gentle space to enter them. It is a space for encounter and coexistence.
On the lower courtyard the pool is dropped onto the ground, bordering the garden along Medeiros de Albuquerque Street. Once again, a relationship with the canopy of trees is established. Under this structure, with access on the basement, a laundry room opens onto the garden. Finally, along the street the edifice offers to the city – through the setbacks of border closure– a bench, a tree and a small square to the city: sincere “urban kindness”.
Implementing a housing edifice in such a place is a construction of topography and void. A drawing of "living in the city".