Design brief and site considerations: The client Idea! Zarvos appealed to the architecture agency Triptyque for the second time. The client wanted to build a residential and commercial mixed-use building on a plot of 8000 m² in Vila Madalena neighborhood of São Paulo where housing is dense and popular. The building is intended for the middle class, between 20 and 40 years with a sensitivity to design and innovation. Triptyque had to design a mix building with more than 40 apartments, 250 m² of commercial area and an imposed height of 25 m. The building must have two entries in two separate streets Arapiraca and Delfina, with a difference in level of 12 m between both entries. São Paulo is a megalopolis in full urban development, so it is necessary to make denser the vertically housing. Idea!Zarvos, specialized in specific issues to the Vila Madalena neighborhood, has the desire to preserve and adapt its architectural projects to the local level.
The main objective of Triptyque was to affect the building with its environment in order to not break the socio-cultural balance of the neighborhood. The area is residential, popular, historically occupied by Portuguese workers. Triptyque wanted to break up the plot of 8000 m² in small units to get a scale more easily adapted to the local level. The project consists of 8 elements as 8 separated buildings with a central communication tower which provides access to the 44 apartments. The randomness in the arrangement of the 8 buildings and apartments meets the anarchic appearance of buildings in the neighborhood. The various buildings seemed to dance freely, offset each other, they did not meet the same shape (height, window layout, etc.); each unit appears to be independent and each apartment seems unique.
The willingness of Triptyque was also to give back space to the resident in this densely populated neighborhood. Each floor has one or two apartments. The building also offers height to benefit from the amazing view of Vila Madalena thanks to the stilts. The building is bright thanks to the openings on two facades. Triptyque was inspired by the residential appearance of the area, the apartment is designed like a house whose entrance is outside the building via the walkways. Like a house, each apartment is unique and therefore recognizable by its owner from outside.
Public gardens and shops on the ground floor erase the usual boundaries between public space and private space.
Idea!Zarvos wanted to design this housing project in its socio-geographical context, taking into account the urban landscape, the local scale and the neighborhood spirit. Triptyque’s proposal has a strong impact on the neighborhood of Vila Madalena because it changes the urban landscape of the district in the best possible way: combining estheticism with an urban solution. The project designed by Triptyque is not limited to a residential building, it is an answer to the needs of growing of the area while preserving its identity.
Triptyque wanted to reinvent the traditional form of a residential building to fit with the neighborhood of Vila Madalena. The interaction between the inhabitants of the buildings is facilitated through the walkways, which recreated a neighborhood in the very heart of the building. The spaces between buildings give light to apartments. There are various scales and shapes for the habitations to suit to any type of lifestyle and demand.
The concept of mixed building is valued by planners solution. The shops on the ground floor promote the circulation of people and the meeting with the public space, which preserves the charm of this very residential area. The shops offer parking places which is particularly appreciated in this neighborhood.
The two large openings in front of the residential door and in front of shops offer friendly spaces for residents of the building as for pedestrians of Vila Madalena.
Location: The urban landscape of São Paulo is heavily influenced by two main characters that coexist independently and simultaneously. On one hand, the vertical constructions – most of them faithful to the modernist/rationalist models –, which evolve randomly with the inconstant guidelines of the urban planning. On the other hand, the historical and/or informal occupation of two or three floors of the residual spaces between these constructions.
The set is characterized by spectacular scale and height limits breaks, resulting in a chaotic and discontinuous urban landscape. Located in the heart of a middle class neighborhood undergoing constant change, the project is precisely put in this context, and situated on the margins of one of these permanent breaks, revealing a split panoramic skyline.
The building is located at the limit of Vila Madalena neighborhood. This area is undergoing rehabilitation for 5 years, formerly very popular, it became the fashionable place for young active society of São Paulo. It is also an area of great creativity with its galleries of art, its street art, cultural and nightlife lives. The building will be adjacent to one of the oldest bar in the city dating from the 60’s, a veritable institution in São Paulo: the Astor.
The neighborhood is mostly residential made up low private houses and popular constructions. There are very few buildings. Triptyque has worked on the design to integrate it harmoniously into the neighborhood geography and culture. The project uses materials belonging to the collective memory, and it meets the residential aspect and the scale of the area.
Appearance & Finish: Two main materials are used: concrete projected on the exterior facades, and “azulejos” (ceramic) on the inside facades. These two materials are winks to the Brazilian culture. As the famous neighbor: the Astor, these materials are also part of the Brazilian collective memory.
The concrete projected is usually used for popular housing, it is raw, rough and gives a primitive aspect to the external facades of the building.
The “azulejos” are used in the context of a tribute to Athos Bulcão who has worked extensively with Niemeyer for the storefront facades of the buildings in Brasilia. The design of the “azulejos” is a rewrite of his work, central in Brazilian design. The “azulejos” provide light to the interior facades reflecting the sun on their smooth and shiny surface.
The exterior facade has the appearance of a cave while the inner façades are design and graphic.
Triptyque wanted to apply the History of the area on the design of the building even in the details. The glue usually used to apply the “azulejos” is deliberately left exposed for visual communication of the building (apartment number, signage, etc.).
The concrete structure of 8 units is visible and enhanced. Finally, the groundflloor is based on the “gabion” held by an apparent fence reinforcing the mineral and primitive appearance of the building. Metal walways that serve floors are super transparent thanks to the fence used on the sides.
Metal, concrete and stone offer a shade of gray that highlights the white and blue of the “azulejos”.
Sustainbility, Energy Conservation, Environmental, Use of Renewable Energy, Innovation: The infrastructure for receiving a solar water heating is plan ahead from the construction. In addition, the space between the buildings allows natural ventilation appreciated in the Brazilian tropical climate.
Air conditioning machines are hanging on chain link fences of walkways. Triptyque thought to put on the machines, small boxes of plants benefiting from the heat and steam from the air conditioner to improve plant growth. Thus, the fence acts as a vegetable prop.
A storage for bicycles is provided to support the initiative of green transport in a city that suffers from the density of traffic. There will also be a place for electric cars in the parking.
Safety & Security: The project includes strong security measures. Each pedestrian and automobile entrance has a security double door entrance and a gate keeper intended for 24/24h 7/7, and the whole building will have a circuit of security cameras.
The building meets the standards required by the Fire Safety Code, with respect to partitioning, choose non-flammable coatings, maximum to go to the emergency stairs, scaling circulation areas and escape routes effective distances.
Partners: Carol Bueno, Greg Bousquet, Gui Sibaud, Olivier Raffaelli
General Coordinator: Luiz Trindade
Project Manager: Beatriz Hipólito
Collaborators: Marcella Verardo, Bianca Coelho, Murillo Fantinatti; Isaac Safdie, Daniele Grossman, Paula Megiolaro, Pedro de Mattos, Alfredo Luvison, Michele Panhoni, Renan Bussi, Felipe Alves, André Mathias, Natasha Taylor, Felipe Smith, Paulo Rodrigues, Danilo Vicentini, Manuela Coelho, Beatriz Almeida, André Ribeiro, Andrea Novazzi, Vinicius Capela, Caco Cruz, Carla Gotardelo, LuisCanepa, Stephanie Elizabeth, Thais Beraldo, Maria Eugênia Gorga and MurilloFantinati.
Landscape: André Paolielo, Rodrigo Oliveira
Structure: Gama Z.
Air conditioner: Willem Sheepmaker & Assoc.
Lighting: Estudio Carlos Fortes
Topographic survey: Topografia.com
Foundation: Portella Alarcon
R. Delfina – Vila Madalena, São Paulo – SP, 05443-010, Brasil